A large number of public and private universities in the country are running without focusing much on research, a key benchmark for measuring the standard of tertiary education.
Some 27 private universities and eight public ones did not spend a single penny on research in 2020 while some conduct name-only research with a meager funding.
They also said no tertiary education can be completed without research as creation of new knowledge requires fact-finding analysis.
Former University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof Dr AK Azad Chowdhury said, “A university should give most emphasis on research. The universities should be planned in advance for giving budgetary allocation. Otherwise the research will not increase.”
“Apart from this, very little money is now being paid for PhD and post-doctoral degrees. As a result, many are going abroad when they get scope for the research while those who live in the country are not encouraged to research,” he said.
Prof AK Azad Chowdhury, also former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University, said, “I think research will increase if funding for these degrees is increased.”
“Apart from this, non-governmental organisations also can give money for research and they will be benefited and the research will also come forward,” he added.
Of them, 27 private universities, out of 104 ones, spent no money on research in 2020 while eight, out of 46 public ones, did not spend any single penny on research.
The data shows that a maximum of only Tk 0.5 million was spent on research by 31 universities each and 13 universities spent Tk 0.5 million to 1 million.
But, academics said spending Tk 2 million a year is poor amount and it is not really a research. In fact, two-thirds of the private universities show the cost of research in name only.
As per the Private University Act-2010, the higher educational institutions are supposed to allocate a significant amount of their annual budget for carrying out research. The 27 private universities that did not spend on research include Central Women’s University, Prime Asia University, Bangladesh Islami University, First Capital university of Bangladesh, ZH Sikder University of Science & Technology, Britannia University, North Bengal International University, Ranada Prasad Shaha University, Global University Bangladesh, The International University of Scholars, Rabindra Maitri University, Central University of Science and Technology, Rabindra Srijonkola University, Bandarban University, The University of Brahmanbaria, University of Skill Enrichment & Technology, Anwar Khan Modern University, Rupayan A. K. M. Shamsuzzoha University and ZNRF University of Management Sciences.
A few of these institutions were established 20-25 years ago. Even some of the 15 universities are running without spending any money on research in the last 4-5 years.
The UGC report also revealed that many of the institutions that carried out research did not focus on any innovative approach and spent just Tk 0.1 million to 0.5 million on research activities.
The five private universities spent the highest money on research in 2020 are BRAC University (Tk 55.23 crore), Daffodil International University (Tk 12.16 crore), American International University-Bangladesh (Tk 9.30 crore), University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (Tk 8.37 crore) and North South University (Tk 6.17 crore).
Meanwhile, eight public universities did not spend any single penny on research in 2020. The universities are Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, Sheikh Hasina University, Khulna Agriculture University, National University, Islami Arabic University and Rabindra University Bangladesh.
The top five highest research spent public universities in 2020 are Dhaka University (Tk 6.61 crore), Bangladesh Agriculture University (Tk 6.19 crore), Rajshahi University (Tk 4.40 crore), Bangbandhu Sjheikh Mujibur Rahman Agriculture university (Tk4.77 crore), Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (Tk 4 crore).
There are 50 government approved public universities and 107 private universities with about 46.90 lakh students in the country.