Academic life stands jeopardisedMohiuddin Alamgir
Campus violence breaking out at regular intervals continue to hamper academic activities in universities and colleges, forcing students to bear the brunt.
Teachers and students rallying against top administrators in universities and colleges offering tertiary education also spoil the atmosphere, delaying their academic life.
Violent activities carried out mainly by the ruling Awami League-backed student organisation Bangladesh Chhatra League are also a big concern, teachers and students said.
The University Grants Commission expressed its concern about the recurring protests and violence in public universities.
At least four tertiary-level educational institutions were closed in the wake of violent protests in a month while several other such institutions are in stalemates facing movements.
Authorities of Jahangirnagar University, Pabna University of Science and Technology and Murari Chand College in Sylhet have been closed amid campus violence.
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology was closed on July 10 in the wake of a movement of teachers and students against the vice-chancellor, SM Nazrul Islam, and the pro-vice-chancellor, Habibur Rahman.
Authorities closed the university till August 25 after violent clashes between students, mostly Chhatra League activists, and the police on Wednesday night and Thursday in which at least 30 were injured.
Jahangirnagar University has witnessed several rounds of protests in recent times. Teachers teamed up
as Sammilita Shikkhak Parishad rallied on the campus to push for the elections to the positions of the deans and the syndicate and the senate before the vice-chancellor’s panel polls, which were held on July 20.
Classes and exams in most of the faculties had been suspended because of the protests during July 14–20.
The university has also seen months of protests after English department student Zubair Ahmed died on January 9 after being tortured by a group of activists of the Chhatra League on the campus the day before.
Shariff Enamul Kabir, who was vice-chancellor then, was removed from his position in the face of protests by students and teachers.
Dhaka University teacher Anwar Hossain replaced Enamul Kabir as the vice-chancellor on May 17.
Anwar Hossian told New Age that it was ‘really unfortunate’ when teachers were responsible for such stalemates.
‘Such campus crisis could be resolved through discussions and not by pressuring the authorities,’ he said.
Pabna Science and Technology University was closed on August 2 for 31 days amid campus violence in which 10 people became injured.
Earlier, the students had boycotted their classes since July 17 pushing a charter of their nine demands, including the resignation of the vice-chancellor, Mozaffar Hossain.
Murari Chand College in Sylhet has been closed since July 8 after its century-old hostel was set on fire during a clash between the Chhatra League and Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.
Academic life was hampered in Rajshahi University as a group of teachers protested at the killing of Sohel Rana, a social welfare student of the university who died after being injured in a clash between rival BCL groups over ‘the collection of money for Padma Bridge funds’ on July 16.
The teachers demanded removal of the vice-chancellor, Abdus Sobhan, for his ‘failure’ to ensure security in the university, calling him ‘unelected and corrupt.’
Sobhan was not available for comments. The pro-vice-chancellor, M Nurul Ullah, told New Age that a vested interest quarter was plotting to destabilise the campus.
A group of Dhaka University students teamed up as Shikkharti Adhikar Mancha enforced a strike on the campus on July 19 as authorities did not respond to their ultimatum for the announcement of a date for elections to the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union.
Earlier, a group of Chhatra League leaders locked up classrooms in the fine arts faculty on July 10, which led to the suspension of classes in the faculty for three days.
The Dhaka University vice-chancellor, AAMS Arefin Siddiqui, told New Age that a group of people were trying to create a chaos in the country and the group was also conspiring against educational institutions.
Teachers of Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology in Gazipur have since late June rallying for the appointment of a vice-chancellor from among the teachers of the university as the post has been remained vacant since the time.
Patuakhli Science and Technology University and Rokeya University in Rangpur were rallying against their vice-chancellors centring on allegations of corruption and irregularities.
Teachers of Khulna University of Engineering and Technology went on strike in May protesting at a case being filed against some teachers by Chhatra League leaders in connection with a clash in January.
Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology was closed in March after the death of Chhatra League leader Abdul Aziz Sajib in an infighting.
Students of Dhaka College, Eden Girls’ College, Tejgaon College, Titumir Government College, Kabi Nazrul Government College, Suhrawardy Government College, Burhanuddin College, Bangla College at Mirpur and others have been rallying since April demanding solutions to delay in their academic life.
The students, teamed ups as Students’ Action Council for Removal of Session Jam, were demanding a permanent solution to such delays in academic life and publication of results in three months after examinations.
The University Grants Commission in a statement expressed concern about the protests and violent incidents in different educational institutions. ‘The prevailing situation will hamper the tertiary-level education,’ a statement the commission issued said.
The Chhatra League’s general secretary Siddique Nazmul Alam said that none of their activists were involved in campus violence. ‘We will take stern action against anyone found to be involved in such violence.’
The UGC chairman, AK Azad Chowdhury, told New Age that teachers and students should resolve the issues through discussions.
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