No persons, organisations or institutions are entitled to enjoy the indemnity or immunity in the eye of civilised law and modern constitutional procedure. In fact, since humans began to live together in community life, everyone happened to be under the surveillance of law, rule, accountability and answerability in some way or form or the other.
Whenever a ruler either in the past or even in the recent contemporary times ever tried to exercise his/her absolute power relentlessly, he/she not only brought about untold sufferings and distresses for the people but also in turn ensured his/her own inevitable downfall. There is a universally accepted wise word that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Frankly speaking, my respected teachers of the public universities, as a matter of fact, enjoy virtually a sort of uncensored freedom in performing their assigned responsibilities which securely leave them in a position to own almost absolute power. Theoretically, it is quite alright that the teachers of the highest seat of learning will enjoy the fullest possible quota of freedom for the greatest interest of higher studies and research.
However, practically speaking, we see that many of the teachers – obviously not all – have been on many occasions rampantly exercising their indivisible power in a way that raise some unexpected questions. This is precisely because of absence of a well-functioning mechanism of accountability and answerability which surely act as the strongest deterrent against any potentially innate human propensity to slip into any fatal lapse or laxity.
Unlike private university teachers whose jobs are directly placed before a private body of management, the jobs of the public university teachers are placed before an autonomous set-up of management overwhelmingly run by the teachers themselves. Here lies the root cause of alarmingly increasing trend of deviations and dislocations from the avowed goals of higher studies and research among public university teachers.
Instead of deeper and cohesive involvement in the departmental activities including taking scheduled classes, examining answer-scripts properly and submitting marks in time, holding departmental seminars and symposiums etc., an overwhelming bulk of the public university teachers are conspicuously engaged and involved in the activities quite unexpected and unseemly in their stature entrusted with the onerous responsibilities of building future leaders and think-tanks. Again, I am categorically making my point clear that still there are, though few, whole-heartedly dedicated and devoted teachers, the students of the public universities as a whole are deprived to a great extent of the selfless services of the greater majority of our respected faculties. This phenomenon is more or less common in all public universities. What these teachers are doing? They evidently seem to give more attention to their exclusively personal interests like competing among themselves for profitable appointments of the university. Here comes the question of the debilitating virus of nasty partisan politics. Now more than ever before, greater majority of the public university teachers are directly involved in partisan politics.
The negatively disheartening effects of partisan politics are directly transmitted into the psyche of the students like viral infections and thus polluting the congenial academic environment required for pursuing the cause of higher studied and research. The manifestations of these partisan biases evidently leave their impressions in scripts evaluation and endorsing other undue favours. Again, I am not at all hurting the sentiments of either any particular respected teacher or any group of teachers or students. I am just stating the bland facts available on the surface. The beneficiary students of the undue facilities in their turn pay back their benefactors unethically.
There is not the least doubt that the most brilliant students or otherwise the cream of the students still make the public universities as their first choices for higher study. If the case is so, the question naturally arises out as to why the performances of the public university students in competitive exams and job markets are not up to the mark compared to that of private or national universities. Obviously, some potential flaws and shortcomings are lurking there in the whole system which actually calls for a thorough investigation no doubt. The relatively below graded students of both private universities and national university are doing quite well in the competitive exams in recent years. I strongly believe that even the most brilliant ones cannot necessarily put in their best resources if not practiced and nurtured in the right mode, still then it will not be quite sane to put the blame entirely on the public university students.
Even a decade back right from now, there existed a polar distance between the public university teachers and the students especially in some of the departments. Many teachers of some departments would think themselves to be super human beings living in the ivory tower. This type of snobbish mindset on the part of the teachers essentially resulted in a discrimination between the teachers and the students leaving the students in a remote island. Should we call this phenomenon healthy? Should not the universities be the hallmark of co-operation and co-ordination among the teachers and the students? Obviously, the highest seat of learning must be the best place of free and unhindered flow of interactions and interplay of views among the teachers and the students. Because of this narrow attitudinal pattern coupled with partisan politics over the decades, the best intakes or inputs which happen to be the young learners of the public universities have been immensely denied from availing intensive care and invaluable intellectual resources of the academic genius of the PU.
Though the things are now changing slowly in the changed reality in the PU, still the ineffectual and stereotyped pattern of answerability on the part of the teachers of PU eating into the vitals of smooth functioning of the public universities. For dynamic and fast-track running of the academic activities as per global requirements, the entire procedure of accountability pattern will have to be revised thoroughly and the negative factors must be addressed with a global mindset. We have now no option left but to go for a deeper soul-searching as to ascertain why the private universities are consistently advancing both in grading and rating while none of the public universities are yet to be included in the list of globally rated 500 best universities.
Quite pertinently but more alarmingly, questions are often raised by the public university students concerning the marking irregularities in the answer-scripts which are totally unaccepted from the role-models and the think-tank of the nation. If proved true, these sorts of gross irregularities must be dealt with zero tolerance. Even the questions are also there about the integrity, impartiality and gender segregation about some teachers while awarding marks. Upon proper investigation, exemplary disciplinary actions are to be taken irrespective of the concerned teachers’ positions and appointments. We must, above all, remember that once a student on receiving undue favours and privileges becomes a teacher or is installed in a prestigious position, the price of it will be too high for the nation. In gravity and magnitude, the questions of irregularities regarding faculty and other appointments simply surpass all so far. In many recent appointments in the public universities, questions are raised that genuinely eligible candidates have been left aside while the ineligible candidates with strong partisan back-up and the blessings of a section of teachers become the teachers.
Finally, since long serious irregularities are very often raised against many teachers about their unhealthy nexus in installing their less potential wards in the position of honourable faculties. In my limited scope, I just mention a few burning ones. Once the institution of answerability is developed on a strong footing, many of these irregularities will automatically go.
The writer is an Assistant Professor
of English, Bogra Cantonment Public School & College.