Bangla has long been neglected at the country’s private universities as they are interested only in subjects like English and Business Administration.
Besides, Bangla is also ignored in higher education as a medium of teaching and learning due to a lack of textbooks and adequate research work.Currently, a total of 107 private universities are operating academic activities across the country. Only 14 universities are offering B. A (hon’s) in Bangla while Bangla is not taught at all in the rest of the universities.
A Daily Sun investigation found that there are Bangla (Hon’s) subjects only in 14 private universities. The universities are the Asian University of Bangladesh, University of Development Alternative, Premier University, South East University, Prime University, Northern University, Uttara University, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, Sonargaon University, North Bengal International University, Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib University, CCN University of Science and Technology, Northern University of Business Technology and Rabindra Maitree University.
But there is no Bangla course or department in the rest of the 93 private universities including the renowned North South University, United International University, BRAC University, United International University, American International University, East-West University, Daffodils International University and Dhaka International University.
Talking to the Daily Sun, Jagannath University Bangla Department Professor Dr. Chanchal Kumar Bose said “Bangla has been ignored in higher education for a long time. We discuss the issue in February and tend to forget about it during the rest of the year.”
“Students of the private universities are reading only one or two Bangla subject but there are no in-depth lessons or history of Bangla at their syllabus,” he said.
“Most of the private universities have no Bangla department while students are reading job-oriented subjects only to get good jobs,” Prof Bose said.“We will learn foreign languages for the demands of time but there is no scope to neglect Bangla,” he said, adding that the authorities will have to make sincere efforts to promote Bangla in the higher educational institutions.
The Mother Tongue is also ignored in higher education as a medium of teaching and learning due to a lack of enough textbooks and research work.
Apart from the department of Bangla literature and some other departments in the arts faculty at public or private universities, not many books written or translated in Bangla can be found.
As per the Bangla Academy Act-2013, it is one of the basic functions of the academy to make available and publish dictionary, terminology, grammar, reference books, bibliography and encyclopedia in Bangla. It should also widen and enrich the use of Bangla in science and technology.
Insiders said various initiatives were taken by the government and Bangla Academy but the implementation of the steps are very poor.
The academy, established in 1955, has a division for translation. In its latest catalogue, the academy has 1,418 saleable books. Less than 100 of those were translated into Bangla from a foreign language.
A total of 21,527 books were published in the last five years of Ekushey Boi Mela. Of those, only 186 were translations books.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) had taken an initiative in 2008 to introduce courses in Bangla language, culture and history in the private universities.
The commission also had asked the private universities to introduce some courses on the Bangla language, culture and history even if it is not possible to introduce a fully-fledged Bangla department.
But there is no progress as the authorities of the universities want to open only job-orientated subjects and department, said a UGC official.
UGC Director (Private University Division) Md Omar Faruque said the commission is encouraging the private universities to introduce Bangla department in their institutions.