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2 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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‘COMMUNAL CONTENT’ IN RU ADMISSION QUESTIONS

Blame game continues among teachers

RU CORRESPONDENT
Blame game continues among teachers

Teachers of Rajshahi University (RU) fine arts faculty are well aware of the two questions that have triggered an outrage on the campus and widespread criticism on social media. Many have already blasted the university authorities for coming up with such "extremely communal" questions. The Independent found that some teachers of the faculty had informed the admission test committee and the question papers formulation committee that the questions, which have raised the allegation of "communal provocation", might cause problems. But the questions were not changed with the excuse that the question papers had already been printed. The two controversial questions were: ‘What is the name of the greatest book in the world? A) The Holy Quran, B) The Holy Bible, C) The Holy Injil and D) Gita.’

‘When did the Myanmar army and the Buddhists launch an armed attack on Rohingya Muslims?’

In the face of massive criticism, the faculty’s admission committee withdrew the questions on Thursday, saying that all the examinees would receive full marks for them. The committee, however, did not reveal who exactly was responsible for the incident.

According to faculty sources, a three-member ‘admission test main committee’ was formed before the test. The fine arts faculty dean, Prof. M Mustafizur Rahman, was the coordinator of the committee, while two others members of the committee are Prof. Hritendra Kumar Sarma, head of the painting, oriental art and printmaking department, and Prof. Mostafa Sharif Anowar, head of the ceramics and sculpture department.

A four-member ‘admission test question papers formulation committee’ was also formed to prepare the question papers.

The members of the committee were the painting, oriental art and printmaking department’s associate professors Md Amirul Islam Rana and Md Zillur Rahman, the ceramics and sculpture department’s associate professor Dr Nurul Amin, and the graphic design, crafts and history of art department’s associate professor TMM Nurul Moddaser Chowdhury. Sources said the ‘admission test main committee’ first invited questions from teachers of the faculty and asked them to submit the questions to the ‘admission test question papers formulation committee’.

Next, the ‘admission test question papers formulation committee’ prepared the questions papers and submitted those to the main committee for moderation. Finally, the main committee and the question formulation committee jointly moderated the question papers.

However, Prof. Mostafa Sharif Anowar claimed that he and Prof Hritendra Kumar Sarma were not aware of the existence of the ‘admission test question papers formulation committee’.

 “It's not the duty of the four teachers to formulate and moderate the question papers. Rather, it was the duty of the main committee to formulate and moderate the question papers,” he said.

Prof. Mostafa Sharif Anowar alleged that Prof M. Mustafizur Rahman, who is also the head of the crafts and history of art department, had not consulted them about the question papers.

"Mustafizur Rahman formulated and moderated the question papers by his favourite teachers. He even let non-teaching members of the faculty to type the questions, although those were supposed to be typed by two teachers of the faculty," he said.

Prof. Hritendra Kumar Sarma echoed Prof. Mostafa Sharif Anowar's words, saying that he did not know anything about the admission test question papers formulation committee.

 He, however, did not want to comment on the issue as the matter is being investigated by the RU authorities.

Contacted, Prof. Nurul Amin said that he had informed Prof. Mustafizur Rahman that those two questions might cause problems. He also said that those who moderated the question papers would be able to say why the two questions were added to the paper.

When asked, Prof. Mustafizur Rahman brushed aside the allegations brought against him. “The question papers were formulated and moderated by all the members of the main committee. We couldn't change the two questions because we were informed about them after the papers had been printed. So, I told the control room to give all the students full marks for them,” he said.

He also said that he let non-teaching members of the faculty to type the questions as all the teachers were busy.

"No one informed me about those two questions before the papers had been printed. It was an unfortunate mistake,” he added.

Meanwhile, the RU authorities formed a four-member probe committee to find the people involved in preparing those two questions. The probe committed, led by RU pro vice-chancellor Ananda Kumar Saha, was asked to submit a report over the matter within 15 days.

Three other members of the committee are Prof. Md Shahidullah of the English department, Prof. Abu Bakar Md Islmail of the applied physics department and Prof. Nazrul Islam of the chemistry department.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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