Tuesday, 27 September, 2022
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Student Politics in Private Universities, No Please

  • Masum Billah
  • 23rd September, 2022 05:23:38 PM
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World famous Harvard University is a private university. The journey of private universities in Bangladesh might not be so long but some universities such as BRAC University, North South, Independent University, Bangladesh and Daffodil International University have already earned some reputation and, if this trend continues, several of our private universities may acclaim global reputation within several years ahead. These universities could dedicate their time, energy and attention to academic and extracurricular activities keeping themselves away from the so-called student politics that has been vitiating the academic and university life of general students in public universities. Thousands of students have become the victim of the ugly claws of student politics and have lost their freedom, prestige and honour. They just have to digest all sorts of humiliation and mental torture of the student cadres. In recent times, a vested interest group tries to introduce the same culture in private universities where students have to receive an education paying a handsome amount of money that stands quite opposite to public universities.

The current scenario of student politics in public universities in no way talks of the welfare of higher education and pupils. The other day while talking to a friend who is a government official told me that his son studies at SUST but stays in a mess. He further added that staying in the hall is not possible because of student politics that has robbed everything of the general and meritorious pupils. They have to do everything as the student wing of the party in power desires. In this cruel situation, only those who have received the benefits of this aimless student politics can support and advocate for student politics in private universities. This situation and proposal have undoubtedly made the guardians and conscious citizens worried as they do not want to see the unruly demonstration, struggle, blood-shed, tendering, fighting and hooliganism in the name of student politics in private universities.

Some university teachers have opined that they do not believe in the division between public and private universities. I want to refute this claim. Since the birth of private universities in Bangladesh, they have witnessed clear division. Public university students have to pay a minimum amount of tuition fee; their dormitories and teachers are paid by the state. Quite opposite thing happens in private universities as the students of private universities do not get any subsidy from the state and have to pay a higher amount of tuition fees. Their teachers are paid by them. The teachers who say not to develop any division between private and public universities seem difficult to understand what they actually want to mean.

The politics that public universities witness has created an atmosphere of violence and insecurity and instilled a culture of fear, hatred, wielding arms and fighting among different factions of students and even among intra-party groups. When all the public universities see this dark picture of hooliganism banishing the study, research and humanism, how some educationists advocate for politics in private universities do not come to my sense. Moreover, many foreign students will not come here anymore if student politics is introduced. When public university VCs and the university administration cannot enforce the laws and orders and cannot take steps for the betterment of the university and general students due to so-called student politics, how can we propose to do the same in private universities? We saw in the newspapers on 07 September that a student wing has formed a private university student wing that has invited attention, praise and mostly criticism along with fear among many guardians and thinkers of education in the country.

If we cast our glance at international politics, national politics and local politics, we can easily see that the common people get from it a loss, tension, and losing everything and inciting fear, hatred, harassment and death. At the cost of these phenomena, opportunist politicians amass a colossal amount of money and wealth just to keep their supremacy and never talk about the welfare of the people and country. We see the Russia-Ukraine war, Israel-Palestine conflict, and Pakistan-Kashmir-India conflict bring untold miseries to the common people making the opportunists benefitted. A similar thing happens in national politics. Common people become the victim of everything. They have to bear the brunt of political turmoil. The soaring price of commodities, insecurity at every step of state affairs, fear, threat, forced disappearance etc have already vitiated the life of common people—all these originate from national politics. Common people have to pay hush money to get any service from the state-owned institutions and organisation and no government can do anything here. So, why the common people will adore such type of politics? Ample opportunities lie in private universities for the students to bloom their leadership qualities. They get involved in various types of cultural and social activities and competitions. They have student representatives and monitors in running the university administration. Many private universities have student clubs that organise seminars, symposiums, workshops, games and cultural events and even some have joint programmes with overseas universities to develop them into human resources and worthy citizens of the country. Now is the time to ensure all these phenomena in all the private universities without penetrating so-called student politics there.

In most private universities, every semester is occupied by the academic calendar. One example can be cited here that a three-month semester contains 24 classes and the duration of each class is one hour and thirty minutes. Within this academic calendar, quizzes, assignments, midterm examinations, presentations, viva-voce, and final examination surface. Moreover, each department of some renowned universities attempts to arrange one workshop each month. To develop leadership quality among the students, different types of clubs have been established. All these busy schedules clearly tell us that student politics of the kind that reigns in public universities hardly get any scope to make room in the private universities so far. However, a vested interest group is trying heart and soul to push it into private universities as these universities accommodate more students than public universities. If it happens, the student politics of muscle power and the gun language would prevail in private universities also.

Most private universities’ rules and principles do not allow student politics which is prevalent in public universities. The guardians and trustees fully endorse it. The guardians do not want their wards to embroil themselves in nasty student politics and enrol their names in the register of ‘cadre’ and musclemen. If such an attempt of some vested interest group really introduce student politics that will compel the affluent guardians to send their wards abroad for higher education and already enrolled students of neighbouring and other countries will go back either to their own countries or somewhere else that will deprive Bangladesh of getting some foreign currencies and reputation that the private universities have acquired. Some private universities appoint some foreign teachers who try to keep the academic aspects of higher education up at the cost of their sacrifice, sincerity, dedication, experience and face value. All this will disappear with the emergence of politics on campus. Today private university students outnumber public universities that are another cause of the opportunist politicians to fatten their group at the cost of academic damage in the private universities. However, we do not support the proposal in the greater interest of higher education and the nation.

The writer works in the education sector. Email: [email protected]

Source: Sun Online