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Save Jahangirnagar University

  • Published at 12:15 pm October 10th, 2013
Save Jahangirnagar University

When we were toiling with our “troubled education life” during Dhaka University’s most rowdy days, we used to envy our friends who went to Jahangirnagar University.

Our JU mates didn’t have to suffer as we did, they didn’t have “session jams,” they didn’t have any undue interference for getting seats at their halls of residence, they even completed their masters much ahead of us and went into the job market at least two years before us.

They were so fortunate to have such a fantastic environment at their university. During our time, JU was the emblem of a perfect seat of higher studies in Bangladesh, as the erstwhile dictator couldn’t pollute it with his Machiavellian tactics.

Those were the sunny days for JU and all the people involved with it. Those glorious days are long gone and now the university is groaning with pain due to politics by the vice-chancellor, teachers, politics by so-called students and politics by other employees.

Given the state of the affairs now at JU, it seems that the university is doomed and is no longer an institution for any education. It’s unacceptably painful to see that the university has come to this.

A section of the teachers has been demonstrating against the VC, demanding his resignation. They have been sitting in front of VC’s residence for a long time. Earlier, a few weeks ago, they kept the VC captive inside his office room.

Then a few weeks later, the VC, along with his spouse, had also come out of his residence and staging a sit-in, protesting the teachers’ sit-in. He had announced that he wouldn’t budge from there until the teachers didn’t move away from there.

It was also reported that a section of government party students’ wing had met the VC asked the VC not to move away from that place.

Then on October 9, the VC with the help of Chhatra League workers reportedly tried to clear his way by pushing two demonstrating teachers. The teachers, in their counter-move, pushed the VC.

There was an incident of chasing and counter-chasing between the teachers and Chhatra League workers.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, the registrar and his deputy had been kept inside their offices on the question of appointing the dean.

The employees had been staging work abstention in protest of this.

This continued for quite some time and the pro-BNP teachers have now announced that they would again start their agitation on 22 October. Such isn’t a normal picture of a university, for heaven’s sake!

To the minds of the commoners like us, the Jahangirnagar campus cannot be termed as a place for education any more; the pro-government and pro-opposition party educators seem to have lost all credibility as educators.

The goings-on at the JU campus clearly indicate that appointed educators, including the VC, of this university have gotten involved in national politics and serving their own party interests.

On the other hand, the government, the education ministry for example, is seen enjoying the comedy that has been being staged there. Although the education minister has warned the pro-BNP teachers with legal action, he didn’t say anything to the VC and the Chhatra League workers there.

It’s not understandable how a political party can gain by nurturing national-level political activities inside a university. The question can also be raised as to how far the educators, who are involved in national politics, are capable of educating their students, as their minds are not into educating the pupils.

We, who have seen our Dhaka University teachers get politically divided during 1982-90, know the educators themselves can destroy the educational backbone of a university. Our four-year course to eight years to complete; and you can imagine the education that we received from our educators.

In such circumstances, the students suffer the most; they lose interest in education; their entry into the job market gets delayed; their parents feel the brunt of this delayed passing-outs of their wards.

JU also has some really passionate educators who, we presume very few in number, remain as a silent minority and want to remain busy with education only. We urge them to raise their voice for saving the JU from this dire situation.

If they remain silent as usual, the consequence of the present situation would really get out of hand.

At the same time, we urge the government for freeing this university from clutches of national-level political activities.

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