Private varsities press for online exams

Quality education to be affected, experts say

Md Solamain Salman

6th May, 2020 10:07:13 printer

Private varsities press for online exams

The private universities in the country are pressing for holding exams online though many of them have no technological ability to carry out the task.

The universities also make a demand for allowing grading students without holding semester finals, enrolling new students without admission tests.

Sources said private universities are pressurising the Education Ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC) through the ‘Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh” (APUB) for online exams and admitting students without tests.

Educationists, however, said if the government allows private universities to evaluate students through online exams, the quality of higher education will be affected.

They also suggested holding only classes online during the coronavirus outbreak, but opposed the holding online exams like the semester final exams.

Officials at the ministry and the UGC said private universities are continuously pressing the authorities to allow grading students without holding semester finals, enrolling new students without admission tests, and holding exams online.

But, the UGC in a survey found that only 56 private universities, out of total 105 in the country, have online classes and the rest of them have no capacity to run the online education.

Even, many of the 56 universities are holding online classes in name only lack of technological access and poor response of students.

Talking to the daily sun, Dhaka University former Vice-Chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said, “At first, we have to ensure technological access to carry out online classes or exams at the universities because many students have no internet access till now.”

“If we have enough technological support, we can carry out the online classes and exams to keep continue our education amid the coronavirus outbreak.”

The educationist also said the authorities should prepare for the online education like the developed countries to face such a situation in future.

Meanwhile, allegations are rife that the main goal of private universities behind the running online exams is to take money from students. That is why they are pressurising one after another.

Seeking anonymity, a ministry official said private universities have no proper technological access while there is also lacking enough internet access among the students, but the universities are pressuring the government to hold exams online only for their financial interests.

Considering quality of education, the UGC on April 10 rejected an APUB request to postpone its decisions of not allowing grading students without holding semester finals, enrolling new students without admission tests, and holding tests online.

The commission on April 6 asked private universities to stop assigning their current students grades through online exams and evaluation, and to stop enrolling new students without admission tests amid the closure due to coronavirus.

The UGC also said several universities have decided to assign grades to students without holding semester final exams and evaluation. This is unethical.

Failing to manage the UGC over online exams, APUB President Sheikh Kabir Hossain raised the issue in a meeting with Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni on April 30.

The decision was taken from the meeting that all private universities will be able to complete the existing semester through online classes. But they will need to follow the UGC guidelines to hold exams.

The ministry directed the UGC to make a guideline. Now the UGC is making a guideline to hold online exams at private universities and it will be handed over today (Thursday), sources said.

UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah told the daily sun, “Taking online exams and assessment through online is very difficult and there is possibility of hampering quality of education.”

He said, “We made a guideline for private universities over the evaluation process of the current semester as around 70 percent activities of the semester completed before the ongoing shutdown.”

When asked about the guideline, he said, “We made it keeping three types of options considering the facilities of all the private universities and it would be disclosed on Thursday.”

The UGC chairman also admitted that most of the private universities have no proper technological capabilities to carry out the online education properly, saying that 56 universities are running online classes now.