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Education Ministry forms committee to update private university law

  • Published at 05:17 pm August 25th, 2020
North south private university
File photo of entrance of North South University in Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The committee will submit a report with amendments, additions, changes, or modifications to the Private University Act 2010

The Ministry of Education has formed a three-member convening committee to update or review the law on private universities to expand and ensure quality education across the country.

The Directorate of Secondary & Higher Education issued an order signed by Deputy Secretary ANM Tarikul Islam in this regard on Monday.

The convener of the committee will be a member of the University Grants Commission (UGC). 

Two other members of the committee will be members of the Bangladesh Accreditation Council and the deputy secretary of the Directorate of Secondary & Higher Education, the letter stated.

The UGC and the Bangladesh Accreditation Council will appoint their representatives to the committee.

The committee will submit a report with amendments, additions, changes or modifications to the Private University Act 2010 to ensure quality education and proper management at the private universities, the letter said about the committee activities.

The committee can add new members to the committee if necessary, according to the letter.

In addition, the ministry asked the committee to submit their recommendations within a month.

A senior member of the UGC told Dhaka Tribune that the current act was promulgated 10 years ago but it was not clear about how the administrative and educational activities of private universities would be conducted.

The new law would include everything and would be brought under more accountability and smooth academic activities, he added.  

In 2018, the UGC had sought to exercise more control over private universities, according to a recommendation in its 43rd Annual Report.

According to a report, the UGC does not have adequate manpower to monitor and control the level of education in both private and public universities as the number of students has increased.

Previously, the UGC had put forward a proposal on fixing the tuition fees of private university students, but it was not implemented.

The UGC had sent a recommendation to President Md Abdul Hamid on amendments to the Private University Act 2010. 

The standing committee of the Ministry of Education formed “Sub-Committee 1” at the beginning of the year to amend the law. That committee arranged several meetings to revise and amend parts of the University act. The UGC sent the revised recommendations to the president.

According to the recommendations, no changes or modifications to the Board of Trustees can be made without the  prior approval of the commission. A government official will be appointed to monitor the trustee board commission.

Additionally, money or dividends reserved in the name of a university cannot be withdrawn or transferred to another bank without the commission's permission. Permission should be sought from the commission to use the dividend for a university's development activities.

When asked about the committee, UGC member Dr Muhammed Alamgir said the main target was to have private universities flourish under the law so that they could ensure quality education and gain students and guardians’ trust.  

There were some recommendations to amend the private university law in the UGC annual report 2018. There were some issues in implementing the existing law. So it was high time to update the law and ensure quality education, he added.

He said there were no service rules, job security along with other issues at private universities, which are not ensured due to undefined reasons under the current law. That was why the government had decided to form the committee.

The ministry asked for a panel of three persons from each private university and for the names to be sent to the Directorate of Secondary & Higher Education by September 10, to fill the vacancies as per Private University ACT 2010.

In this respect, a letter was issued signed by Deputy Director ANM Tarikul Islam on Sunday.

If the universities failed to submit their proposed names in due time then the ministry would take legal steps regarding the matter, the letter stated.  

Currently, the position of VC at 19 private universities and Pro-VC at 83 private universities are vacant.

Earlier this month, Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel told Dhaka Tribune a university could never run without proper authority. The vacant posts at private universities needed to be filled up to ensure accountability and responsibility. 

As of 2020, the country has 106 private universities, according to the UGC.

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