Dr Md Moazzom Hossain
Higher Education in Bangladesh was previously considered a privilege for the fortunate few, but now it has come to be regarded as a basic imperative need for the prosperity, development and stability of a country. Private university is a new phenomenon for Bangladesh. North South University is the first private university which started its academic activities from February 1993. Afterwards, a new arena opened for higher education in Bangladesh and each and every government became eager to establish private universities for academic and political interest. By virtue of this spirit the number of private universities increased day by day. According to the UGC report 2012, the total number of enrolled students in private universities in the country is more than 2.25 lakh which is greater than the accumulative number of public universities except National University and Open University.
Though the number is increasing, there is concern regarding the quality of higher education in these private universities. Some educationists comment these universities are certificate selling organs without academic advancement of the students. Recently, private universities became the caption of national dailies for multifarious corruption in higher education environment in Bangladesh. So, private university in Bangladesh is a great issue for research.
Private universities of Bangladesh are in multifarious problems regarding admission, courses and curriculum, teaching procedure, examination system, and other governance issues. There is a great scope for researching the original positions of private university in Bangladesh.
The basic concepts of this research are; Factors of establishing a private university, admission, courses and curriculum, examination system and good governance in higher education. Proper interactions of these systems confirm quality education.
As per the Section No- 6 of the Private University Act-2010, a private university has the following primary factors:
(a) A competent trustee board: A competent trustee board comprising minimum nine to twenty one members. It means the board must be expert in their capacity and financially solvent to run a university independently.
(b) Sufficient infrastructural facility: A university must have sufficient class rooms, library, laboratory, seminar room, office room, common room, other required rooms and structures for continuing academic and administrative activities.
(c) Separate building: A separate building of 25000 sq feet is a crying needs for a private university, it may be the personal asset of the university or managed by rented.
(d) Faculties: A university must have three faculties comprising of six departments.
(e) Planning: A private university have a proper planning and must be approved by the Bangladesh University Grants Commission (UGC).
(f) Full time competent teachers: A private university has to recruit competent full time teachers as per the guide line of UGC.
(g) Permission of teachers: If a teacher of a private university are in service of another university than the No Objection Certificate (NOC) of the original institute is inevitable.
(h) Curriculum: Each private university has to have a detailed curriculum and formulated subject wise courses with number of seats in each department. The numbers of seats must be approved by the UGC.
(i) Reserve fund: Any proposed private university must have reserved fund of Tk 5 core in Dhaka &Chittagong metropolitan city, Tk 3 core for other metropolitan city, Tk 1.5 core for other district towns. These amounts of money must be deposited in any scheduled banks.
(j) Engagement in national destruction: The proposed private university can in no way be engaged in any activities destructive to the state or security of the nation.
During the enrolment of students a university must be conscious about the quality of students. The guidelines of UGC must be followed properly to register new students. Below the marks students may damage themselves and the university. So, the university authority should be conscious about the following admission factors:
(a) Provision of admission test must be mandatory to register a student in any programme ie under graduate or graduate level;
(b) The admission process must be free from any kind of political pressure;
(c) Written and oral test may be mandatory for admission to justify the candidates' level of knowledge;
(d) Admission should be done through systematic process maintaining every step by the administrative wings.
It is true that examination is the output of any university, basically the products of a university is flourished through this system. For ensuring quality education examination system should be maintained this way:
(a) Moderation of questions by expert moderators;
(b) Provision of second examiner for each course which is helpful for neutral scrutiny of answer scripts;
(c) Disciplinary actions for coping or unethical practices must be prohibited as per rule;
(d) Arranging convocation in regular basis for ensuring quality education in the private universities.
Courses and curriculum is the vital issue for developing higher education. For proper development of a private university the following factors should be maintained:
(a) Following the approved courses & curriculum of UGC effectively;
(b) Revising the courses after a period for updating it;
(c) Proper monitoring of faculties whether they follow the courses in classes; and
(d) Establishing separate department of courses & curriculum in each and every university.
Good governance is an important issue of higher education in this 21st century like other sectors of social science. So, in the Section No- 14 of the Private University Act-2010 the provisions of nine authorities were included. They are - (a) Board of Trustees, (b) Syndicate, (c) Academic Council, (d) Faculties, (e) Institutes, (f) Courses & Curriculum Committee, (g) Finance Committee, (h) Selection Committee, and (i) Disciplinary Committee. The formation and functions of these authorities have also been expressed in the Section No-16 to 28 of the Private University Act-2010. Each and every private university authority should be conscious about these authorities and implement these properly.
The Private University Act -2010 is a detailed and systematic law for private university in Bangladesh. It touches every area of private higher education in Bangladesh. It is the third amendment Act after 1992 and 1998. But the implementation of this Act is in questions. Private university is a new concept in Bangladesh after 1992, but within twenty two years the number became eighty (80) and some Army supervised new private universities are also ready for starting academic activities. By evaluating their preparations it may be predicted that the Bangladesh Army will prove their competence in all other areas including operating private universities.
Dr Md Moazzom Hossain, a higher education researcher, is currently working as Registrar at Bangladesh Army University of Science & Technology (BAUST), Saidpur