No university from Bangladesh could make it to the list of top 1000 global universities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020. Only Dhaka University was placed in 1001+ of the list featuring 1,396 universities from across 92 countries. A total of 56 Indian universities, 14 Pakistani and one Sri Lankan secured positions on the list. In the 2016 edition of the ranking, DU was placed between 600 and 800 and it went down to 1,300 this year. This is not just sad but also disgraceful.
In May this year, the Times Higher Education also published a list of a total of 417 top-ranking Asian universities but Bangladeshi universities failed to secure any position on the list and it was criticised heavily from different sectors. But, the university authorities failed to take that into cognizance. Some university chiefs, this time, also raised questions over the accuracy of the ranking.
Through this, they not just denied their failure but also are trying to hide the truth. This tendency is suicidal. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 was prepared based on five criteria -- teaching environment, research, citations, international outlook and industry outcome. There is no room to overlook these criteria. Why couldn't Bangladeshi universities feature on the list where Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan universities could? The ranking gave DU lowest points in research. If a university does not do research, how can it increase its quality of education? A university not just deliver knowledge but also creates it. And this is possible only through research.
We do not even need to see foreign rankings to assess the quality of education in Bangladesh and realise it is going down day by day. The anarchy we see every day in universities is contradictory to the environment of education. From teachers' recruitment to promotion, everywhere we see loyalty towards the ruling party is the key factor. There are many instances of recruiting teachers relaxing university rules. We cannot hope for quality education where all public universities' pro-ruling party teachers clash and compete to make boost their groups with teachers of their camp.
We must remember that the countries which became developed in socio-economic sectors prioritised quality education. It is unfortunate that our policymakers focus on increasing the number of universities instead quality education. The government is setting up universities here and there and approving private universities and medical colleges without checking their facilities. This gives students certificates not education.
Right now, we may not compete with the universities of Europe, USA, Australia or Canada, but why should we lag behind the universities of India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka?
A sleeping person can be woken up but it is impossible to wake one who pretends to be sleeping. When will our education policymakers wake up?