Threats may not help resolve BUET crisis
With the teachers and students rallying for the removal of the vice-chancellor and the pro-vice-chancellor and some other demands and the government practically doing nothing about it, the crisis in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology has been on since April. In the midst of the stalemate has come a statement from the highest authority of the government, i.e. the prime minister, on Saturday, warning BUET teachers and students that the government could go tough on them if the deadlock over their demands is not over immediately. The prime minister said, as reported by New Age on Sunday, that her administration ‘is sincere about resolving any problem through discussions’ but reminded the teachers and students that they ‘should keep in mind’ that the government ‘also knows how to go tough.’ A clear threat to the teachers and students in question, which, we are afraid, may deepen the crisis further.
The education minister had two rounds of discussions with the teachers and the students of the university in the past week, in which he had promised them that the cases lodged against the students and teachers would be withdrawn, the pro-vice-chancellor would be gone shortly and other partisan appointments would be revised. The promises are yet to be met.
The teachers and the students of BUET are not fighting for any material benefits of their own. They are out to restore a tradition of having the administrative positions filled by the teachers based on merit and seniority, not on partisan considerations of governments. It is the government of the Awami League that stood in the way of maintaining the tradition. A controversial professor, who has the record of messing up things while he was in Khulana University, was made the vice-chancellor of the globally reputed university, a pro-vice chancellor was appointed superseding many a senior professors and party loyalists were given responsibilities for hall administrations in violation of the established norms, creating a strong sense of dissatisfaction among the teachers and students. Consequently, the teachers and students, but for a few having partisan loyalty to the government, became united to preserve the tradition by way of getting partisan appointments revised. It is, indeed, difficult to find fault with the agitating teachers and students. Under the circumstances, the prime minister should take a positive initiative to resolve the crisis rather than threatening them with stern action.
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