Govt must return academic life to JU and BUET
THE prevailing situation at two premier higher education institutions in the country, Jahangirnagar University and the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, is indeed a cause for great concern. Classes, examinations and other academic activities have been kept halted for a number of months now at Jahangirnagar University where a large body of teachers and students are demanding the resignation of the current vice-chancellor for his alleged involvement in recruitment trade, in patronising the killers of a dead student and many other serious alleged offences. Meanwhile, at BUET, since April 7, a large group of teachers have taken a stand against the vice-chancellor and pro-vice-chancellor for their involvement in ‘irregularities’, with a special reservation against the post of the pro-vice-chancellor, which was created in 2009 to allegedly accommodate a ‘political appointment’, and which never existed in the university before. These are indeed very serious allegations levelled against persons directly appointed by the government and it falls upon the government to thoroughly investigate the matter and take due action if any of the allegations are proven to be true.
It becomes more important to resolve them immediately because the impasse in both universities has already caused, and threatens to cause, further damage to the academic life and schedule of a huge number of higher education students in the country, which must simply not be allowed to happen. Given that the allegations are against the highest authorities of the universities, and serious allegations at that, which merit both attention and lend credence to the teachers’ decision to protest, it is only the government who can and should now act immediately to resolve the issue.
In the nearly three and a half years’ tenure of the present government, one cannot help but notice that educational institutions around the country, especially higher education institutions, have been susceptible to disruption in academic life, owing to a number of reasons including violence perpetrated by the ruling party-backed student organisation, all of which can be directly and indirectly linked to the government. In fact, the government has actively pursued a policy to uphold partisan loyalty over merit in recruitment and appointment in not just educational institutions but in almost every other sector — bureaucracy, health, law enforcement, etc. It would not be a stretch to describe the impasse and BUET and Jahangirnagar University a result of such ill-willed policy of the government. The allegations levelled against the top authorities at BUET and Jahangirnagar University by the general teachers and students ring true to most ears, especially given the recent history of appointments by the government.
The government must immediately take steps to resolve the matter not by any show of force, but by addressing the allegations levelled against the people it has appointed. More importantly, they must take all necessary steps immediately so that normal academic environment returns to these two important higher education institutions in the country.
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