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‘Allegations of favouritism against me are unfortunate’

  • Published at 07:23 pm August 29th, 2017
  • Last updated at 02:52 pm August 31st, 2017

There have been allegations against you that you have appointed loyalists as lecturers and professors. What is your reaction to this? Dhaka University is the only public university in Bangladesh where the pro-VC (education) appoints lecturers, assistant professors and equivalent officials and the pro-VC (administration) appoints section officers and other equivalent officials. The office of the vice-chancellor is not responsible for the appointments. These allegations against the office of the vice-chancellor are unfortunate. According to rules and regulations stipulated by the Dhaka University Ordinance 1973, the recommendations are made by the statutory body for any recruitment of teachers during the syndicate meetings. I must approve these unanimous recommendations as the chair of the syndicate. Some reports published in a local newspaper have levied unfair allegations against me and that is a glaring example of yellow journalism. The reports said the quality of some of the appointed teachers were not up to par and were published during the time of the vice-chancellor panel election to affect the election results. Some teachers were definitely involved in spreading this misinformation. The media can publish whatever it wants but unfortunately a lack of professionalism and bias these days is responsible for how newspapers have lost their objectivity.
If regular students come under the leadership of the students’ organisations then Ducsu can be activated again easily. We have to understand why Ducsu was closed in the first place
The numbers given by the newspaper report were false as it claimed that 907 teachers were recruited. The authority did not recruit non-deserving teachers for the position. Their merit was the first priority. Another allegation that was levied against the authorities was that we recruited graduates as lecturers instead of postgraduates. We recruited the graduates in the engineering affiliated department as engineering universities of Bangladesh including Buet can recruit graduates. They can complete their post-graduation, PhD after being appointed. We wanted to hire lecturers with Master’s degrees in engineering for applied chemistry and chemical engineering as that is the rule of Dhaka University. But after repeated advertisements, nobody with that requirement applied for the job. So, we were bound to recruit meritorious students from Buet. This is a valid rule in the sub-continent. The paper also alleged that we recruited lecturers who did not meet the required score in their SSC and HSC exams of 4.25 GPA. This rule was decided by the syndicate. The selection committee recommended some meritorious students who secured 1st or 2nd position in their respective departments who had a 4.15 or 4.10 in SSC or HSC. Those who make criteria can also change those criteria. All aspects of any topic must be presented by a newspaper. It is then up to the reader to decide what is right and what is wrong. Were you able to ensure a level-playing field for all the political student organisations during your tenure? There has always been a level-playing field for student organisations at Dhaka University. They have always been able to hold programmes, protests etc. Basically, for the last eight and a half years, we have tried to make sure violence does not erupt on campus because of the programmes organised by some organisations. See, when student organisations come under the stewardship of some irregular students, that is when the trouble begins. When regular students have control, they bring dynamism to the organisations. During my tenure, there was not a day lost in the academic calendar. What have you done to reinstate Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) that has been inactive for the past 27 years? If regular students come under the leadership of the students’ organisations then Ducsu can be activated again easily. We have to understand why Ducsu was closed in the first place. It was because of murders and sabotage on campus. We do not want that situation again. If the student organisations consolidate their leadership, then we can reinstate Ducsu. The university administration and politicians should reach a consensus on regular students joining politics. Our goal is to activate Ducsu again. We want regular students to take leadership roles and contribute to national politics through the Ducsu election. Can the university authorities free the men’s halls from political influence? The authorities at the girls’ halls strictly adhere to the rules and they are better managed. The boys, however, tend to be outside their dorms longer even after curfew and we are trying to get the authorities to manage them better. We have instructed the hall authorities to stick to the rules and regulations and run the halls properly. Teacher-student goodwill is a tradition at the university. If a provost behaves inappropriately with a student at the hall, we will take measures against them when a complaint is filed. Why were the girls at Sufia Kamal Hall being morally policed by a dress code recently? The Sufia Kamal Hall provost told me that the dress code notice was distorted by people who made it go viral online. It may have been a case of trying to get the hall authority into trouble. During the Ducsu VC panel election on July 29, there was an altercation between DU students and a Jagannath University teacher outside the Senate building. Video footage showed the JnU teacher assaulting a DU student. Why was he even allowed to be there during the elections? Anyone can visit the campus. Perhaps the Jagannath University teacher was a former student. No one has yet been proven guilty of the incident. While the world moves away from print media, why are you setting up a printing and publication studies department? The publication industry is growing in Bangladesh and a department like this will help build essential skills for those joining the printing industry after graduation. Our country did not have the necessary skills for this industry. It was all learned on the job. This is why the Academic Council of Dhaka University has decided to open the department based on these concerns. One also has the opportunities to study online and read e-books for printing and publication studies. Can Dhaka University ever regain the reputation for academic excellence as the Oxford of the East?  Our first vice-chancellor Sir Philip J Hartog modelled the university’s rules and regulations after Oxford in the UK. The university had a tutorial system which was replaced by the semester system. This I believe is the reason why we have lost some of the academic excellence. We are not satisfied by the quality of education as it stands today and hope to regain the reputation of being the Oxford of the East again.
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