About seventy percent students of the country’s public universities are struggling to continue with their higher education due to severe accommodation crisis.
The public universities seriously lack residential facilities and as a result, majority of the students of these educational institutions are compelled to reside in messes or rented houses.Talking to the daily sun, educationist Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said all the public universities should ensure accommodation facilities for all the students.
Prof Siddique, also a former vice-chancellor at Dhaka University, said most of the students of the public universities come from rural areas and they face financial hardship if they fail to get seats at university dormitories.
“The residential facilities are very poor compared to the number of students at the public universities,” he said.
He suggested taking necessary initiatives to resolve accommodation crisis through building new dormitories at the higher educational institutions.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) data show that only 31 percent students, 23 percent teachers, 11 percent officials and 14 percent staff of public universities on average get residential facilities in the country.
Data of the latest annual report of UGC show that there is a total of 2,83,866 students at 34 public universities while only 89,292 of them are getting residential facilities.According to the UGC data, 1,94,574 students remain outside the campuses for lack of seats in the dormitories of the institutions for higher studies in the country.
The number of students who enjoyed accommodation facilities at the public universities in 2016 was 96,494 while it was 89,292 in 2017. The number of students getting accommodation facilities decreased by 7,202 in 2017 compared to the previous year.
The students from low-income families are facing problem in giving proper attention to their study as they have to bear additional cost of living outside the campuses.
Talking to the daily sun, a number of students of different public universities said they find it difficult to continue with their studies as their expenses increase 2-3 times for living in rented houses.
Even, there is no dormitory at few public universities.
Jagannath University (JnU), which turned into a university in 2005, has a total of 17,414 students, but there is no hall of residence for the students of the institution.
The students, especially female ones from remote districts, who get admitted to the higher educational institution, are facing serious difficulties in carrying on with their studies due to lack of accommodation facilities.
Though such situation has been prevailing since the establishment of the university, the authorities concerned have turned a blind eye to their sufferings, the students said.
Talking to the correspondent, JnU Register Engineer Md Ohiduzzman said the students studying at this university are the worst sufferers due to lack of halls.
Mentioning that construction work on 1000-seated dormitory for female students is now at final stage, he said, “We are hopeful that the first hall of the university will be ready for use by June this year.”
Besides, a master plan has been taken to build a modern campus with all facilities, including residential facilities for students and teachers in Keraniganj, he said
According to the annual report of UGC, the number of students at Dhaka University is 33,360 while the university has a capacity to provide residential facilities to 9,812 male and 4,157 female students at 23 halls.
Islamic University has a total of 13,636 students. Of them, 1,632 male and 1,098 female are getting residential facilities.
The number of students at Rajshahi University is 37,256. But only 8,586 students are enjoying residential facilities at this institution.
Out of 28,216 students of Chittagong University, only 4,529 of them are getting halls facilities while 23,687 students are out of the facilities.
Sylhet Science and Technology University has a total of 10,113 students while only 2,214 of them are getting residential facilities.
The number of students at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University is 3,867. Of the total students, only 277 are getting residential facilities.
There are a total of 6,436 students at Noakhali Science and Technology University. But, only 1,189 students are getting accommodation facilities at the institution.
Only 420 students out of 6,517 at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University are getting residential facilities.
Prof Harun-ur-Rashid Askari, vice-chancellor of Islamic University, said there is no alternative to ensuring residential facilities at a university. Without residing on the campus, a student cannot get proper education.
Mentioning that 75 percent students of IU are not getting residential facilities, educationist Prof Harun said, “Higher education has not reached at the expected level due to accommodation crisis.”
All the universities should ensure accommodation facilities for their students with a view to making the universities as a centre of knowledge, he added.