Academic and administrative activities are being hampered at many private universities as the key posts, including vice-chancellor (VC), pro-vice chancellor and treasurer are lying vacant.
Educationists said the posts of vice-chancellor (VC), pro-vice chancellor and treasurer are important to ensure proper functioning of universities and a higher educational institution can never operate in the absence of these key persons.As per section 29 (1) of the Private Universities Act-2010, it is mandatory for the private universities to put persons in the top posts like the VC, pro-VC, treasurer, registrar, dean, exam controller and proctor on a permanent basis to ensure a smooth running of their administrative and academic activities.
University Grants Commission (UGC) data show that a total of 95 private universities are now functioning across the country. But only 11 universities have officials in these three key posts (VC, Pro-VC and Treasurer).
Besides, the post of VC is lying vacant at 22 private universities; the post of Pro-VC is lying vacant at 73 universities and post of treasures is vacant in 53 universities.
Educationists and education ministry officials said questions have been raised about the quality of education being provided by the private universities.
Many alleged that the authorities of these private varsities are keeping the key posts vacant only to save money, ignoring the interest of their academic activities.
Former VC of Dhaka University Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique told the daily sun that no university can run properly without a vice-chancellor because the person is the chief executive of a university.Prof Arefin also called upon the education ministry to appoint qualified persons in the vacant posts of the private varsities quickly so that the institutions can run properly and provide quality education to the students.
UGC officials said a private university is allowed to be run by an acting VC only when the VC’s tenure expires. On expiry of the VC’s tenure, a university makes a teacher acting VC for an interim period until the next VC is appointed.
Getting the chancellor’s approval through the education ministry for the appointment of a VC should not take more than a month, they said.
Since the law does not stipulate any specific time limit, some universities, taking advantage of it, keep the acting VCs in their posts for a longer period, while others hardly follow any rules.
Board of Trustees of some of these universities are operating activities of their institutions through appointing persons to key posts on an ad-hoc basis, but such a practice is completely illegal, said a UGC official.
Meanwhile, data also show that all the three top posts—VC, Pro-VC and Treasurer—- are lying vacant at 13 private universities in the country.
The 13 institutions are Gono Biswabidyalay, Sylhet International University, Bangladesh Islami University, Exim Bank Agricultural University, Britannia University, Bangladesh Army University of Science and Technology in Syedpur, Bangladesh Army University of Engineering and Technology in Natore, Bangladesh Army International University of Science and Technology in Cumilla, Varendra University, Royal University of Dhaka, South East University, Asian University of Bangladesh, and The International University of Scholars.
Educationists opined that the board of trustees, in many cases, is reluctant to appoint vice-chancellor and pro-vice-chancellor to make sure it has control over the university administration.
UGC Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan said many private universities are running through following rules and regulations but some universities are flouting the rules.
He said accountability and quality remain absent at a university if this is run without these key persons.
Prof Mannan said, “The UGC has no authority to prevent such an illegal practice of the private universities, except for recommending the education ministry to take actions.”