Saturday, 1 April, 2023

Maintaining discipline in public universities

Maintaining discipline in public universities

We are happy to learn that the Dhaka University authorities have handed down exemplary punishment to over 100 students for breaching rules through acts such as harassing female students, cheating in exams, drug abuse and inappropriate behaviour. Reportedly, the university suspended 109 students for two to four years for cheating on tests and inappropriately behaving with invigilators. Three students were suspended for two years for drug abuse, and one student was expelled for harassing a female student of a private university, while another has been suspended for a year over threatening to take the life of an employee of the university’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

It has long been observed that a section of students in almost all public universities have been committing various irregularities and even crimes which could only point finger at the absence of fear or respect for law in the minds of the perpetrators. As a result maintaining discipline has become an uphill task for the public university authorities. In this regard, we think the DU set a good example by going tough against rule-breakers. We hope the message will be carried to the other errant students. 

However, from the DU authorities’ decision to punish some students, it may appear that we are treating the symptom not the cause. A very ugly form of politics has infected our academia. The way the leaders and activists of the ruling party student wings meddle in many affairs of the universities, is nothing but gross violation of rules and regulation. It has made the university campuses breeding-grounds of criminals by leading the youths astray.

Therefore, it is high time to ban the current form of polluted student and teacher politics from educational institutions. In order to culture good leadership among students, their unions can be functionalised. A university should be a place of light, liberty, and learning. If we cannot ensure that by freeing the education sector from the clutches of political terror, piecemeal steps such as punishing some students for inappropriate behaviour will never be enough to maintain discipline on the campus. Let the above DU decisions be a good beginning.