Wednesday, June 26, 2024

National Univ decentralisation in limbo

The recommendation of a 2009 high-powered committee to decentralise the activities of the National University has not been implemented even in two years.
The committee formed to restructure the National University submitted its report in 2009 containing a set of recommendations including decentralisation of the university through establishing regional centres at divisional level.
‘We found that the supervision of the colleges was not being done properly. In fact, it is difficult for a single authority to supervise so many colleges. That time there were 1,800 colleges. So, we recommended decentralisation of the activities of the university and establishing regional centres at divisional level. We proposed that the regional centres would be autonomous,’ Nazrul Islam, convener of the committee and the then chairman of the University Grants Commission, told New Age.
‘My opinion is that, if we want to improve the quality of education in the colleges, the activities of the National University must be decentralised,’ he said.
Serajul Islam Choudhury, a professor emeritus, also said the activities of the National University should be decentralised for improving the standard of education in the colleges under it.
‘Decentralisation can help the university supervise the activities of the colleges properly,’ he said.
NU sources said the university could not implement the recommendation for decentralising the activities of the university in the face of opposition of its officials to the move.
‘Officials do not want to go outside Dhaka and
so they are creating obstacles to establishing the regional centres,’ said a top official wishing not to be identified.
NU pro-vice-chancellor Tofail Ahmed Chowdhury did not want to comment on officials’ opposition to setting up regional centres but said they had taken a number of steps to implement that particular recommendation.
‘We have rented buildings to house the regional centres, which will start operating soon,’ he said.
When asked, UGC chairman AK Azad Chowdhury said he was concerned about the crisis of the National University. ‘The size of the National University is unhealthy. How is it possible for a university to manage 2,200 to 2,300 colleges,’ he asked. ‘Something has to be done.’
‘However, it is difficult to ensure quality education as more than one million students study in the National University. How can you ensure quality of education,’ he wondered.
‘I have plans about the National University. Either there will be six regional centres or reputable honours and masters colleges will be made separate universities or something else suitable for the students,’ AK Azad said.
He said he would discuss with the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and the education minister, Nurul Islam Nahid, about the issue to take a decision.
‘We won’t compromise with quality of education,’ said the UGC chief.

-With New Age input

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