The University Grants Commission of Bangladesh (UGC) and the vice-chancellors have failed to decide on how to conduct admission tests in the government and autonomous universities amid this coronavirus pandemic.
The UGC arranged a virtual meeting with the vice-chancellors of the government and autonomous universities regarding the university admission tests and online education activities on Thursday afternoon.
Another meeting of the vice-chancellors' platform University Council will be help next Saturday (October 17) to take final decision in this regard. UGC will take the next steps based on the decision of this meeting.
A discussion was held on whether admission can be taken on the basis of SSC, HSC and equivalent examination results without examination or online admission test for other universities like national university colleges. The meeting decided to take final decision on the matter in the next meeting on 17 October.
However, there are 46 government and autonomous universities in the country. Of them 39 government universities admit students directly.
Earlier, in February last year, it was decided that except Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and four autonomous universities (Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, Rajshahi University and Chittagong University) will take separate admission tests.
The UGC has planned to conduct admission tests in three clusters for 34 other universities.
On 10 October (Saturday), professor Muhammed Alamgir, a member of UGC, told Prothom Alo that it has so far been decided to take admission tests in three clusters -- one for agricultural universities, another for general and science and technology universities, while other for engineering and technology universities.
The question has been raised whether it is possible to take admission through tests physically amid this coronavirus situation.
The government has decided to evaluate HSC candidates on the basis of on the basis of average results of JSC, SSC and equivalent examinations instead of taking examinations. It has invoked another question whether the points based on HSC results will be added to the university admission or not.
A person present at the meeting told Prothom Alo that professor Harun Ur Rashid, vice chancellor of the National University, told the meeting that students would be admitted to the colleges under the National University only on the basis of SSC, HSC and equivalent examination results. He suggested that given the coronavirus situation, other universities might consider similar admission method. However, no decision has been made in this regard.
Decision on online classes
Multiple sources present at the meeting said the vice chancellors told the meeting that online classes are not going well as all of the students cannot afford the cost of the necessary devices and the Internet connection. Students have lost their interest in online classes.
Addressing the meeting, the UGC said the issue of 42,000 students in government and autonomous universities, who cannot afford the necessary devices and facilities to attend online classes, has already been informed to the education ministry.
The vice-chancellors told the meeting that time has not come to open the universities.
UGC member professor Muhammed Alamgir told Prothom Alo that universities have been asked to speed up the online class activities.
They will try to implement the proposals presented in this regard, including providing internet connection at minimal prices, he added.