Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Uproar over appointment

Move on to get partisan candidate as Buet registrar
A move to appoint a partisan official as the Buet registrar has caused widespread resentment among its teachers.
If the appointment is made, it will damage the non-partisan character of the institution, said leaders of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) Teachers’ Association.
The association threatened to go on an indefinite work abstention from March 19 unless the authorities retreat from the move. It is scheduled to have a general meeting today to chart the next course of actions.
The day Prof SM Nazrul Islam took office as the vice-chancellor in August last year, he gave Kamal Ahammad, a non-statutory deputy registrar, the charge of the registrar as an additional duty.
The university authorities had published two advertisements seeking applications from eligible candidates after the post of the registrar had fallen vacant in June last year. Four applicants were short-listed for the job.
“But the vice-chancellor went for a third advertisement apparently to give Kamal a chance to contest for the post,” said Prof Md Zoynul Abedin, president of the Buet Teachers’ Association.
VC Nazrul Islam however said the third advertisement was published last month to have more candidates. But Kamal was the only one to have submitted an application after the third advertisement.
Kamal said he was the president of the current ruling party affiliated Buet unit of Bangabandhu Parishad till 2009, and the VC said in 1996 he himself was the executive president of Bangabandhu Prokoushali Parishad, a forum of engineers which is also affiliated with the current ruling party.
The VC said a scrutiny committee rejected Kamal’s application for the post of registrar.
But Prof Abedin contradicted the claim saying the application was not rejected, the committee only asked for some additional information.
Kamal, also president of the Buet Officers’ Association, said he will not vie for the post of registrar. But he however has not made any move to withdraw his application for the post.
Kamal joined Buet as an administrative officer in 1994. He was promoted to assistant registrar a decade later. In 2009, he was appointed as the estate officer, a post equivalent to a deputy registrar, following public circulation of an advertisement for application for the post.
The Buet syndicate, led by Prof Islam, in January this year gave a retrospective effect to Kamal’s promotion as the deputy registrar from March 2004, allowing him to qualify for the post of registrar, alleged Abedin.
It is an unthinkable incident to have happened in Buet, said Prof Sarwar Jahan of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.
Prof Islam however said, “I just followed the precedent of giving retrospective effect to a promotion.”
He said the comptroller was relieved of the additional duties as the registrar, as those had become a “burden” on him. Kamal was the only deputy registrar available for the post of registrar, he added.
Abedin however said Kamal, when serving as the assistant registrar, was directly appointed to the post of the estate officer through public advertisement, and that there is no legal scope for giving retrospective effect to it.
There is precedence of giving such antedated effect only in cases of departmental promotions, he said.
About his own political affiliation, the VC said, “It is difficult to contest in elections of the Institution of Engineers without any political affiliation.”
The teachers’ association demands appointment of a non-partisan person as registrar, and cancellation of Kamal’s promotion, said Abedin.
Association leaders also termed the appointments to the posts of vice-chancellor and pro-vice-chancellor as anomalous, saying the appointments paved the way for gross politicisation of Buet that had been maintaining a non-partisan identity since its inception in 1962.
The government in September 2009 appointed Prof Md Habibur Rahman as the first pro-vice-chancellor of the university, superseding more than 50 senior teachers, while Prof Islam was appointed as the VC even though he was in service on an extension, said Abedin.
In a quick reconstitution of different administrative and recruitment committees, the vice-chancellor opted for relatively junior officials.
Prof Shamsul Hoque of the civil engineering department said, “We were forced to take a tough stance to protect the institution’s non-partisan image, and its reputation for excellence.”
“Our goal is to ensure that Buet is run in accordance with its principles and tradition,” said Md Ataur Rahman, general secretary of Buet Teachers’ Association.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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