The number of students in the country’s private universities marked a decline for the first time in 14 years as these institutions are failing to impart quality education to the learners.
A draft annual report by the University Grants Commission (UGC) says that the number of students in private universities decreased by 3.70 percent in 2016 compared to 2015.
There were 3,50,130 students in the private universities in 2015, but the number decreased to 3, 37,157 in 2016, it added.
Sources said private universities have witnessed a decline in the number of students again after 14 years. In 2001, there was a decrease of students.
The number of students came down last year as many of these institutions are failing to provide students with quality education.
There were 95 private universities in the country in 2016, official statistics show.
Educationists say students are losing interest in studying at some private universities as these institutions are not functioning smoothly and failing to impart quality education to the students.
UGC Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan told the daily sun that the number of students is decreasing at private universities of low-quality education due to vigilance by the government.
Besides, the number of seats at public universities has increased.
But some private universities providing quality education are getting many students, he added.
Prof Harun-Ur-Rashid Askari, Vice-Chancellor of Islamic University, said students decreased at private universities due to their failures to ensure quality education.
“We have witnessed a mushrooming growth of private varsities in the last few years. Many of them get a less number of students due to their failures to provide standard education,” he added.
The number of students at BGC Trust University was 6,221 in 2015, but it declined to 4,878 in 2016.
Prof Saroj Kanti Singh Hazari, Vice-Chancellor of BGC Trust University, told the daily sun that the number of students declined at the university as its permanent campus shifted to rural area of Chandanaish and closed its campus in Chittagong city.
“Our city campus was popular to students, but we are getting a decreased number of students due to the shutdown of our city campus,” he said.
The VC also said the number of students at private varsities will decline further this year because of low pass rate in HSC exams of 2017.
Record shows that the growth rate of students at private varsities was 26 percent in 2002, 34 in 2003, 36 in 2004, 41 in 2005, 40 in 2006, 37 in 2007, 07 in 2008, 10 in 2009, 9.86 in 2010, 27.21 in 2011, 12.04 in 2012, 4.48 in 2013, 0.61 in 2014 and 5.87 percent in 2015.
The number of students at private varsities was very high in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, but it started to come down in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Data show that private varsities witnessing a decrease in the number of students in 2016 are mostly operating in violation of rules.
The institutions witnessing a decrease of students include University of Science and Technology Chittagong, International University of Business, Agriculture and Technology, Gono Bishwabidyalay, American International University Bangladesh, Bangladesh University, Stamford University, Leading University Sylhet, University of Development Alternative, Stamford University, The Millennium University, Eastern University, Manarat International University and The People’s University.