There are no vice chancellors (VCs) in thirty public and private universities, hampering the administrative work of these institutions.
As many as 107 universities have no pro-VCs.
Treasurers can temporarily be given charge as acting VCs in absence of VCs and pro-VCs. But the problem is that there are no treasurers in more than 50 private universities.
In vacuum of three key posts, various activities including administrative are severely affected.
Students have to face problems to get their certificates if the posts of VC remain vacant.
There is no VC, pro-VC or treasurer for a month at Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University in the capital. As a result, the salary of 977 teachers, officials and employees has been held up. Other work also suffers. Three key posts have been vacant since 14 August.
There are 46 autonomous and public universities. And there are 107 approved universities, but admission of students has not started in nine.
There are no VCs in three public universities and in 27 private universities. There are no pro-VCs in 23 public universities and 84 private universities.
Alongside Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University, the tenure of outgoing VC Harun-ur-Rashid of Islamic University in Kushtia, ended 21 August. The post of treasurer is also vacant in this university. The tenure of outgoing VC Mohammad Alauddin at Dhaka Engineering and Technology University in Gazipur ended 28 August.
University activities cannot run properly if there are no VCs. Academic discipline is not maintained. VCs, pro-VCs and treasurers are part and parcel of the universities. Vacuum in these posts is unwarranted.Educationist Serajul Islam Chowdhury
University Grants Commission former chairman professor Nazrul Islam said it is specified when the tenure of these key posts will end. So the education ministry should take up recruitment procedures in advance so that the key post can be filled in time.
The education ministry claims they have taken steps to fill up these posts.
After 11 months on 2 September, the government appointed retired professor AQM Mahbub of the Geography and Environment Department of Dhaka University as acting VC of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University in Gopalganj.
Nothing other than the routine work can be done due to his recruitment as an acting VC.
As a result, the recruitment of teachers is halted in this new university. The promotion of teachers is stopped. And 153 workers, who work on daily basis, have not got wages for over a year. There are more complexities in this university.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Secondary and Higher Education division secretary Mahbub Hossain said the vacancy in a number of universities been has to drawn their notice. Steps have been taken to fill up these posts, he added.
Vacant posts higher in private universities
As per the rule, the chancellor and president recruits VC, pro-VC and treasurer.
But the ministry does the primary activities. They send proposal to the government for the recruitment after receiving proposals from the universities. The proposal goes to the president via the prime minister’s office. There are hiccups in this process.
As per the private university act, the board of trustees at the private university sends names of three professors against one post to the education ministry. The education ministry, after scrutiny by UGC, sends the proposal to the top level of the government. The president recruits one candidate from them.
Sources said only there are only 10 private universities where three key posts are filled. Both the private university authorities and the ministry are liable for the recruitment of these three posts.
There are allegations that many private universities, flouting rules, recruit someone as acting VC and operate academic and administrative activities for months.
As per rule, the VC's signature is required on the main certificates of the students.
The students have to face problems to get the main certificates in absence of a legal VC. However, they can use probationary certificates in the meantime.
UGC sources said some 321 professors are needed to fill three posts in 107 approved universities. There is a crisis of competent and qualified professors. Violating the rules, many university authorities reportedly recruit acting VCs to their choice. Except the president, none can recruit in these three posts.
University of Asia and Pacific has no VC for about four months. After the death of national professor and former advisor to the caretaker government Jamilur Reza Choudhury on 28 April, the post of VC remains vacant in this university. The university authorities recruited someone as acting VC. University registrar Sarwar Razzak Chowdhury, however, said the process of recruiting regular VC is on.
State University of Bangladesh also recruited someone as acting VC. An official of the university, however, they are taking time to recruit regular VC due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, two officials of the education ministry said the universities which have no VCs, pro-VCs and treasurers, were asked to send proposals by 10 September.
Some have sent proposals while many have sent inconsistent proposals.
For example, about the proposal sent by Asian University of Bangladesh, on 10 September the education ministry in writing said among the proposed names one is a member of board of trustee and the age of one is over 78 years. As a result, the university has been asked to send an alternative proposal of three persons.
UGC said among the private universities which have no VCs are: Southern University, Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology, Royal University of Dhaka, North East University of Sylhet, ZH Sikder Science and Technology University, Leading University of Sylhet, Britannia University and Cox’s Bazar International University.
Private University Association president Sheikh Kabir Hossain said at least three names are to be given for the recruitment of VC, pro-VC and treasurer. But it is difficult to find so many qualified persons.
He said sometimes it takes three to four months due to the recruitment process. The education ministry and UGC should simplify the process.
Educationist Serajul Islam Chowdhury said the activities of universities cannot run properly if there are no VCs.
He also said university activities cannot run properly if there are no VCs. Academic discipline is not maintained. VCs, pro-VCs and treasurers are part and parcel of the universities. Vacuum in these posts is unwarranted.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo Print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam and Toriqul Islam.