The weekly working hours of a public university teacher will be 40 including teaching and research activities, according to the University Grants Commission (UGC) policy recently finalised.

A committee that included the vice chancellors and pro-vice chancellors of different universities finalised the ‘Public University Teaching Load Calculation Policy, 2022’.

The policy says a teacher has to spend on average 13 hours in a week in taking class, thesis supervision and in laboratory works. Remaining 27 hours has to be spent in composing questions, evaluating answer sheets, research, writing books or article and administrative works.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, UGC chairman (routine duty) professor Dil Afroza Begum said, “The policy has been finalised after working for two years. Now it will be presented before a meeting of the full committee of UGC. Later, it will be sent to the education ministry for implementation.”

UGC said necessary number of teachers is essential for conducting the teaching and research activities properly. A specific policy is required to determine the necessary number of teachers before giving approval to recruit manpower through ‘teaching load calculation’ at the university. The policy has been made for this.

According to the UGC, currently there are 160 public and private universities in the country. The number of their students is around 4.7 million (including the students of colleges affiliated with the universities). Among the universities, 52 are public and the number of their teachers is around 15,500 (excluding the affiliated colleges).

The 40-hour working hour has been divided into two segments – contact hour and non-contact hour. ‘Contact hour’ will be based on position of a teacher, whose average hour will be 13 every week. In these 13 hours a teacher will be directly engaged in teaching the courses recommended by the academic council. He also will spend an hour for every course every week for counselling the students.

The UGC also said if the number of teachers in a certain department is found to be more than the policy calculation before the implementation of the policy, the posts will be reserved until retirement.

As there is a possibility of hindrance in academic activities if several teachers of a department or institute stay on education leave, the department or institute can seek for recruiting teachers 20 per cent more than the number to be found from ‘teaching load calculation’. The UGC will inform its decision within 15 working days.

The policy also said how the theoretical and laboratory activities to be conducted. There will be one teacher for every 10 students in laboratory but the number of teachers cannot be more than three.

As the teaching method at medical universities is different, the rules will be different there. Though the working hours of a medical university will be equal of other university teachers, there are some differences. For example, a theoretical class will have highest 30 students.

Dhaka University pro-vice chancellor professor ASM Maksud Kamal was a member of the policy composition committee. He told Prothom Alo, “Every country has got such policies. The universities would have been benefitted more if the UGC had done it earlier.”

He also said that the teacher-student ratio is less in many universities in the country. The UGC was not asked to recruit teachers in a systematic way. The universities that had more ‘murubbi’ in different sectors including the vice chancellors used to get more teachers. On other hand those that had less influence used to get less teachers. These issues have been included in the policy, Maksud Kamal added.

Maksud Kamal also said, “Research is a part and parcel of a university. But no research or thesis is conducted at the post-graduate level at many universities or departments. Those who do not conduct such activities will get less number of teachers. On the other hand those who conduct those activities will get more teachers. The time of a teacher has been distributed logically in the policy. This would be beneficial for the universities.”

* The report has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza