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4 September, 2015 00:00 00 AM
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Letters to the editor

Rating privately offered higher education

Sir,
Going through the pages of a newspaper these days in Bangladesh, a reader is likely to frequently come across advertisements of a new university set up somewhere in Dhaka or in the other big cities. But higher education is not only about quantity. More important or crucial is its quality. And it is in respect of this quality factor that the privately run centres of higher education are found to be seriously deficient in many cases.
 The major requirement seems to be the formation, as swiftly as possible, an accreditation council for rating privately offered higher education and the findings of the work of such a council should be made public. Such a step will accomplish several things. First of all, the students and their guardians will know about the standard of the private universities as each of them is graded in order of performance like A, B, C, D and so on.
 The ranking will help them to decide whether to take admissions in such universities or not. The rankings will be a guide to employers about the relative worth of the certificates of private universities. More significantly, the establishment of the accreditation council and its move to rank the universities according to performance will put the pressure on their management to go all-out to improve standard to get a good ranking to be able to remain in business. Besides, such a council, after it will be set up, should aim to identify the deficient universities and tell their management to meet standards within a specified time-frame or lose their licenses to operate.
Furthermore, the accreditation council should also examine whether so many private universities are necessary that only offer courses mainly on business administration or the humanities. If there has been an excess of such institutions, then it should recommend no further growth of them in the future and the recommendation will have to be enforced. As it is, most of the private universities that have cropped up in recent years are offering courses exclusively on business administration and the social sciences. This is because setting up universities to teach science, technology, medicine and engineering call for much greater investments and highly qualified teachers.
But this is not what the country’s economy needs. The economy no doubt needs more people with education and training to run businesses. But it does not need such people to the exclusion of all others specially the ones with skills in technology, science, medicine and engineering. For the country’s balanced economic growth and development, human resources must be created in diverse fields and this is possible only from higher education opportunities in diverse forms. Thus, to this end, the government should regulate the private universities so that these cannot concentrate in one area only.
The proposed accreditation council will be expected to watch over the affairs of all the universities. But it will be expected to be absolutely uncompromising in relation to its monitoring and enforcement work in relation to the few specialised centres of higher learning that have opened shop including the private medical colleges. Reportedly, it is possible to get medical degrees from these colleges without actually going through practical work on anatomy courses such as dissection and operations. Similar inadequacies also reportedly exist in the other areas of the courses of such medical colleges.
 So far, the public medical colleges with their many imperfections, produced nonetheless doctors and medical assistants of a certain standard who could be relied on for service and safety by the people. It would be tragic and very risky if the ranks of medical practitioners in the country now get infiltrated by such less educated or poorly trained persons.

Aminul Islam, Road No-4, Dhanmondi R/A, Dhaka

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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.

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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