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Coronavirus: 63 universities taking online classes across Bangladesh

  • Published at 06:52 am April 29th, 2020
North south private university
File photo of entrance of North South University in Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The number of attendance is better in private universities than in public ones

Many universities across the country are taking online classes to make best use of time, as students are staying home during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh says according to their estimation, a total of 63 universities, seven public and 56 private, are now providing the students with this facility.

Recently, the UGC sent a letter to the universities to determine how many universities are taking online classes, what are the subjects and what percentage of students are taking part in the classes.

A total of 72 universities answered to the letter. All 56 private universities and seven out of 16 public universities responded saying they have started taking online classes.

According to the information they received from the universities, the percentage of students’ attendances in those courses ranges from 50% to 90% and on average 70%. The number of attendance is better in private universities than that of the public.

An official of UGC said private university students are taking part in online classes in higher numbers than the public university ones. Some private universities told the UGC that they went for cent percent online classes. 

On March 23, the UGC encouraged universities to run academic activities online and on April 21, they sent the letter to ask for the latest development. 

The first letter said that online classes would help to cover up gaps caused due to the Covid-19 crisis. 

It encouraged the teachers to use video conferencing platform “Zoom” application through Bangladesh Research and Education Network (BdREN) data center. This will help students to participate in online academic activities using any kind of device which supports internet.

The private universities and its students responded well to the arrangements but as many students are now out of Dhaka, internet coverage and the cost of buying packages have now became a concern. 

Student-friendly internet package

The Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh (APUB) has already proposed creating student-friendly special internet packages so that students across Bangladesh can continue their classes online without any hassle.

APUB President Sheikh Kabir Hossain said online classes and examinations are a crucial component to help private universities recover from the risks and to keep the education system moving.

However, it becomes difficult to bring all students under the facility as they are now scattered across Bangladesh. Therefore the government and telecom companies should open up a small portion of unused bandwidth to help introduce a student-friendly special internet package.

Many private universities have already started researching how they can maintain online education using feature phones and 2G connections, he said, adding that it will help the students who are now living in areas where internet connection is relatively slow.

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