At least 14 illegal tutorial and study centres are carrying out academic activities in Dhaka under different foreign universities, defying the rules and regulations.
Violating rules and law, the unapproved study centres have been offering different degrees, including M.Phil and Ph.D degrees of their affiliated and partner foreign universities.
University Grants Commission (UGC) said the study centres or tutorial centres are engaged in different kinds of illegal activities, including money laundering, education business, certificate and degree business, defying the law and rules of the government.
If the unapproved and substandard centres will not stop immediately, a negative perception will create on the country’s higher education system, said a UGC probe report.
“Many study centres of foreign universities are operating in Bangladesh without taking approval of the commission. Even there are allegations that the centres are running academic activities as like coaching centres,” said UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah.
“We are not against the study centres but they should run maintaining rules and ensuring quality of the higher education,” he said.
Mentioning that the government may allow study centres of renowned foreign universities instead of substandard ones, Prof Shahidullah said there is a need for a specific guideline like the private university to run the study centre in a proper way.
Apart from this, a government approved study centre “Monash College (Australia) study centre Bangladesh” is also running academic activities in Dhaka but there is no approval of University Grants Commission (UGC).
UGC sources said the commission on July 27 last year formed a six-member committee headed by UGC member Prof Biswajit Chanda to identify the unapproved study centres and make recommendations of legal action against them.
On completion of the probe, the committee recently submitted the investigation report along with 10 points recommendations to the UGC for taking next course of action.
According to the probe report, the commission found the existence of 14 unapproved tutorial and study centres in Dhaka. It also found a government approved study centre though it has no approval of the UGC.
Under the Private University Act-2010, there is a rule of 2014, regarding setting up of branch campus or study centre of foreign universities.
As per the provision of 39(1) of the Private University Act 2010, the foreign universities cannot set up any campus in Bangladesh without the approval of government and they cannot provide certificate of different degrees under the foreign universities or institutions.
But the study centres or tutorial centres of the foreign universities have been running the academic activities for long, violating the private university act, and the directives of government and the UGC.
The centres are admitting students through publishing advertisements in print and electronic media and on the social media.
The unapproved and substandard institutions are creating anarchy in the higher education sector of the country and they are conducting different programmes in the name of foreign universities.
The study centres are also engaged in different kinds of illegal activities, including money laundering, education business, certificate and degree business, defying the law and rules of the government.
The UGC probe committee recommended that the commission request the education ministry to take necessary steps to stop the unapproved tutorial centres and study centres immediately.
They also suggested that the UGC should send letter to the education ministry for filing case against the operators of the study centres and tutorial centres as per section 49 of the private university act.
It also said the approval of Monash College (Australia) Study Centre Bangladesh has been given against the Private University Act-2010 and the concerned rule-2014, so the academic activities of the centre should keep stopping until following of all conditions of temporary approval as per law.
The probe committee also suggested sending a letter to British Council asking them not to conduct the examination activities of the unapproved tutorial centres and study centres of the foreign universities.
They also suggested seeking explanation from the British Council of how it is helping the unapproved tutorial centres and study centres.
The probe body also suggested sending letters to the public safety division, Anti-Corruption Commission, Financial Intelligence Unit of Bangladesh Bank and National Board of Revenue (NBR) for scrutinising the income and expenditure of the illegal institutions or their associate organisations.
There is also a need for checking whether they are involved in money laundering, it said.