No principal at 31 of 45 polytechnic institutionsMushfique Wadud
Thirty-one out of the 49 government polytechnic and equivalent institutions are running without principals and only 14 of them have vice-principals, according to Directorate of Technical Education officials.
About 45 per cent of teaching positions at these institutions vacant which, the teachers and students said, is seriously hampering academic and administrative activities.
The 46 institutions have about 67,000 students.
The teachers said that the positions had been lying vacant for three to four years as the recruitment process was irregular.
Many teachers believe that the recent protest by polytechnic students over a rumoured government move resulted as the institutions were going without principals for years.
‘Acting principals cannot make many decisions. It is not possible for them to tackle such a situation,’ a teacher said.
Several hundred people were injured as polytechnic students across the country went on the rampage on May 24 demanding cancellation of the ‘government’s downgrading the status of diploma engineers,’ which government
officials termed a rumour.
Students also brought out processions in different parts of the country the following days.
Teachers said that they had to work almost double to make up for the teacher shortages, harming the quality of technical education.
‘It is impossible to ensure quality education when a teacher has to take six or seven classes a day,’ KM Sawkat-ul Islam, principal of Chittagong Polytechnic Institute, told New Age.
The teachers said in most of the polytechnic institutions, a teacher needed to take six to seven classes a day.
The director general of the Directorate of Technical Education, Shahjahan Mian, aid that there was a teacher shortage in polytechnic institutions but said that a process was under way to fill in the positions.
He said that the positions are vacant as there has not been regular recruitment for some years.
Students said that classes were not held sometimes because of shortage of teachers.
‘In many cases, we go to college but then are told that classes will not be held,’ said Joynal Abedin, a student at Dhaka Polytechnic Institute.
According to data available with the Directorate of Technical Education, there are 2707 teaching posts in the 49 institutions and 1,151 of them are vacant.
Dhaka Polytechnic Institute has 130 teaching positions but has 108 teachers. The principal, Rafiqul Islam Mir, said that classes cannot be held regularly because of teacher shortage. He said that the institution does not have any teacher for environmental sciences.
Chittagong Polytechnic Institute, which has 3,600 students, has 75 teaching positions but there are only 51 teachers now.
The principal, KM Sawkat-ul Islam, said that a teacher needed to take six to seven classes a day because of teacher shortage.
‘When teachers take extra classes, it is only natural that the quality falls,’ he said.
Chittagong Girls’ Polytechnic Institute has only 17 teachers against 37 teaching positions. The institution has about 700 students.
‘Technical education is a something that you need to learn from teachers. Students will not get quality education if they are not properly taught,’ Abdul Malek, the principal of the institution, said.
Sylhet Polytechnic Institute, which has 2,400 students, has only 32 teachers against 64 teaching positions.
SM Golam Faruque, acting secretary of the education ministry, said that the ministry was working to resolve the crisis.
‘We had a meeting today with polytechnic teachers and we are working to resolve the crisis,’ he said.
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