Many of the country’s private universities are entangled in various irregularities and internal conflicts, and involved in an alleged certificate business.
They are also running a number of academic programmes without permission from the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The government has failed to devise a monitoring mechanism to prevent the violation of the law, although the number of private universities is increasing in the country.
There are also allegations that the Education Ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC) cannot take action against the irregularities as the owners of the private universities are influential persons.
UGC sources said the commission has issued a public circular against 19 private universities, including North South University (NSU), over a series of irregularities such as running unapproved campuses and programmes.
The UGC has found that these 19 universities run their operations with temporary clearance from court, engage in disputes with their boards of trustees, conduct programmes and courses without permission and fail to launch academic activities even after getting permission.
It has already prepared the public circular where they mentioned the names of 19 private universities asking students to be careful during admissions at those.
Talking to the Daily Sun, UGC Director (Private University Division) Md Omar Faruque said, “We have a plan to issue a public circular warning the admission seekers so that they’re not cheated by getting enrolled in problem-riddled universities.”
Suggesting that students get enrolled after checking all information of universities through visiting the UGC website, he said, “We’ve already uploaded the names of the universities involved in various irregularities to the UGC website.”
The UGC official also urged all admission seekers and their guardians to only choose authorised campuses of these universities.
The commission has also asked students to check the status of these private universities from links on the UGC website – not from the universities' own websites. The UGC in the circular mentioned that North South University is conducting general BBA, BBA in finance, human resource management, BBA in international business, BBA in marketing, BBA in management, BBA in management information systems, BBA in accounting, BBA in economics, BBA in entrepreneurship and BBA in supply chain management without the approval of the UGC. Gono Bishwabidyalay runs BBA, environmental science, MBBS, BDS and physiotherapy programmes obtaining a stay order from the High Court for six months with effect from November 26, 2017.
Sylhet International University and Pundra University of Science and Technology are also running some programmes illegally.
The UGC has deleted the web page of Ibais University from its website as the university has no approved address and legal authorities and it is running an illegal campus.
The commission did not permit the University of Comilla and America Bangladesh University to restart its academic activities while Southern University Bangladesh is facing legal challenges over its ownership and enrolment of students.
The UGC has found conflicts going on between the boards of trustees and members of Britannia University, Ibais University, Sylhet International University and Cox’s International University.
The Ministry of Education approved Queens University on September 6, 2015 on the condition that it would comply with all formalities within a year, but the deadline has expired.
There is no legal VC, pro-VC and treasurer at Asian University of Bangladesh while the UGC asked for keeping halted admissions to BA (Hons) in Bangla, MA in Bangla, BA (Hons) in Islamic History and Civilization, MA in Islamic History and Civilization, MSS in Information Science and Library Management, B.Ed, and M.Ed.
Times University Bangladesh had started BBA, MBA, LLB (Hons) and LLM before getting approval of running academic activities from the UGC while there are allegations of corruption against the university. There is no VC, pro-VC and treasurer appointed by the chancellor at Prime Asian University while there is allegation of money embezzlement by former chairman of the university.
Victoria University of Bangladesh, University of Development Alternative, Southeast University and Daffodil International University are running their academic activities in unapproved campuses. On the other hand, Darul Ihsan University has been closed in compliance with a court order.
The UGC also asked not to admit to six private universities as they are yet to get approval to start academic activities. The universities are Rupayan AKM Shamsuzzoha University in Narayanganj, Ahsania Mission Science and Technology University in Rajshahi, Shah Makhdum Management University in Rajshahi, Khulna Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah University, Microland University of Science and Technology and Sheikh Hasina University of Science and Technology in Kishoreganj.
The UGC in the public circular also mentioned that the vice-chancellor (VC) of a private university would be the main person to sign the certificates of its students. The President, who is the chancellor of all universities, only appoints the vice-chancellor, pro vice-chancellor and treasurer.
Currently, 99 private universities, out of 108, are running their academic activities across the country. Of them, 69 have VCs, 22 have pro-VCs and 56 have treasurers appointed by the President. But three top posts are vacant at 22 private universities.
Earlier, President Abdul Hamid, also the chancellor of all universities in the country, had issued a 16-point guideline at a meeting with the vice-chancellors of the private universities on February 6, 2018 to check irregularities and help operate the universities smoothly.
But the universities have hardly taken any measures to sort out their irregularities as per the guidelines. They rather continue to operate at their own will.