Tuesday, 24 May, 2022

Key posts vacant at pvt universities

No VC at 40 varsities, no Pro-VC at 80

  • Md Solamain Salman
  • 29 January, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Major posts, including that of vice-chancellor (VC) and pro-vice-chancellor, have remained vacant at many private universities in the country for a long time, hampering academic and administrative activities at the higher educational institutions.

Section 29 (1) of the Private Universities Act-2010 provides that it is mandatory for private universities to appoint persons like VC, Pro-VC, treasurer, registrar on a permanent basis to carry out administrative and academic activities properly.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) data show that the VC post lies vacant at 40 out of 108 approved private universities, there is no Pro-VC at 80 universities and post of treasurer is vacant at 49 private varsities.

Talking to the Daily Sun, former VC of Dhaka University Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said that absence of regular VC or chief of any institution weakens the universities.

“The universities, which have VC   are already facing various crises. So we can easily imagine what is the situation at the universities running without key posts like VC.”

About the VC appointment process, he said, “We saw that post of VC at many universities has fallen vacant for a long time. It was also seen that VC is appointing to some universities before completion of tenure of the outgoing VC.”

“It means that an interested group is working at the education ministry,” he added.

“There is might be a conspiracy behind lying vacant of the key posts for a long time,” the educationist said,  

urging the education ministry to find out reasons and takes measures to fulfil the vacant posts.

The UGC data shows that all three vital posts — VC, Pro-VC and Treasurer — are vacant at 17 private universities -- Bangladesh University, East Delta University, Exim Bank Agricultural University, Britannia University, Northern University of Business and Technology, Rupayan A. K. M. Shamsuzzoha University, Ahsania Mission University Of Science & Technology, Khulna Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah University, Shah Makhdum Management University, Trust University, Microland University of Science and Technology, and Sheikh Hasina University of Science and Technology.

Experts said there are enough competent professionals who can take up top leadership roles at the universities but in many cases, the board of trustees doesn’t find candidates who would be loyal to them.

Questions have been raised about the quality of education being provided by these higher educational institutions keeping the top posts of the universities, they said.

There are also allegations that the authorities of these private varsities are keeping the key posts vacant only to save money, ignoring the interests of their academic activities.

Educationist Prof Dr Harun-Ur-Rashid Askari told the Daily Sun that absence of key person like VC or Pro-VC is obstacle to the full development of any university.

“Founders did not establish the private universities with proper and specific planning and in most cases it was found that now business is a key target of the maximum founders of the private universities,” he said.

The irregularities in private universities will play a negative impact on the overall higher education sector in the country, he said.

Prof Harun-Ur-Rashid Askari, also former Vice-Chancellor of Islamic University in Kushtia, said a strong monitoring by the Education Ministry and the UGC is needed to stop irregularities in private universities. “Universities without fulltime VCs face problems to make decisions and do development activities too,” he added.

The Private University Act-2010 makes it mandatory for a university to recommend names to the president, also the chancellor of public and private universities, to pick one for the post of VC.

The existing law does not cover the appointments of acting VC, pro-VC and treasurer. But, many of the privately run institutions are functioning through appointing acting officials in key posts in violation of the law.

However, UGC officials say the universities are allowed to be run by acting VCs only when the VC’s tenure expires. On the expiry of the VC’s tenure, a university makes a teacher acting VC for an interim period until the next VC is appointed.

Getting the chancellor’s approval through the education ministry for the appointment of a VC should not take more than a month, said a UGC official

But since the law does not stipulate any specific time limit, some universities take advantage of it and keep the acting VCs in their posts for a longer period of time, while others simply do not follow any rules, he added

Allegation also found that the board of trustees, in many cases, is reluctant to appoint vice-chancellor and pro-vice-chancellor to make sure it has control over the university administration.

This has been going on for too long with the education ministry and the UGC allegedly showing indifference. Experts said it is harmful both for the students and the universities.

Board of Trustees of some of these universities are operating activities of their institutions through appointing persons to key posts on an ad-hoc basis, but such a practice is completely illegal, said a UGC official.

Although the board members are supposed to give strategic directives, they often get involved in day-to-day activities of the universities and perform duties that are supposed to be carried out by the VCs and pro-VCs of the universities.

UGC member Prof Dr Abu Taher said a vice-chancellor is an academic and administrative custodian who led a university while treasurer is the financial custodian. So, I don’t know how a university is running with the two important posts keeping vacant.

He also said, “Some private universities are running by same VC since establishment of the universities and the VCs think none will be VC except them. Such mentality is not acceptable.”