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POST TIME: 18 January, 2020 01:03:44 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 January, 2020 12:40:46 PM
Private varsities reluctant to submit audit report: UGC
“Rules continue to be flouted in academic, administrative and financial activities”
HARUN UR RASHID, Dhaka

Private varsities reluctant to submit audit report: UGC

Widespread violations of regulatory rules are taking place at many of the private universities in the country, the University Grants Commission has noted in its report for 2018. While the incomes of the private universities have seen a marked rise in the year, many of these institutions are not interested to submit their annual audit reports to the UGC. In 2018, only 48 private universities out of 91 submitted their audit reports to the commission.

The UGC, in its 45th Annual Report 2018, said the universities should provide the accounts to the commission for transparency and accountability of income and expenditure as per the law.

In addition, the UGC report said the private universities are still continuing to break rules and regulations in their administrative, financial, and academic activities, thereby hampering the smooth activities of the educational institutions.

The UGC said some of the universities do not hold regular meetings of the Board of Trustees, Syndicate, Finance Committee and Academic Council, which is a gross violation of the Private University Act, 2010 and is not desirable.

The UGC report further pointed out that many of the private universities did not have legal vice-chancellors (VCs), pro-VCs, and treasurers appointed by the President, who is the Chancellor of all universities.

In 2018, there were 73 VCs, 22 pro-VCs, and 43 treasurers in 93 private universities. As such, 18 VC, 69 pro-VC and 48 treasurer posts remained either vacant or not filled up as per the procedure in the 91 varsities.

In 2017, the number of VCs was 61, pro-VCs 22, and treasurers 42 in 90 universities.

The UGC remarked that the administrative, academic, financial, and other activities of the private universities cannot function properly without VCs, pro-VCs, and treasurers. It raises questions and hampers the academic and administrative activities, as well as the academic life of students, the report said.

The commission noticed that some of the universities have still not filled these three vital posts. It expected that the university authorities would take steps and inform the commission about these matters.

The report stated that in 2018, only 48 private universities out of 91 submitted their audit reports to the commission. In total, 43 universities did not care to submit their audit reports, which is a clear violation of the Act, it said.

The audit reports are imperative for ensuring accountability and financial order of such institutions at

the tertiary level, the annual report of the UGC said. Of the 48 universities, 32 got the audits done by audit firms designated and approved by the education ministry. The UGC did not find any papers of designated audit firms with 15 audit reports. Only 14 universities submitted the audit report following rules and regulations, it said.

In 2017, only 23 private universities submitted audit reports out of the 83 universities.  The commission observed that the private universities are “not interested” in submitting their audit reports to the UGC. However, the UGC expects that the universities would submit audit reports in time through designated firms.

The UGC found that in 2018, the total income of 91 private universities was around Tk. 3,504.67 crore, with an average of Tk. 38.51 crore. This is a marked rise from 2017, when the total income of 90 universities stood at Tk. 2,101.6 crore.

On the other hand, the expenditure of 91 private universities was reported as Tk. 3,359.25 crore with an average of Tk. 36.91 crore.

The UGC said holding of meetings of the Board of Trustees (BoT), the Syndicate, Academic Council, and the Finance Committee is a prerequisite for ensuring transparency and accountability of a university. But in 2018, a number of private universities did not hold such meetings.

Six universities—Sylhet International University, United International University, the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, Britannia University, Times University, Bangladesh and Anwar Khan Modern University—did not hold any BoT meeting, the report said.

On the other hand, 10 universities—Bangladesh University, ASA University Bangladesh, First Capital University of Bangladesh, Britannia University, Bangladesh, German University Bangladesh, International University of Scholars, NPI University of Bangladesh, the University of Creative Technology, Chittagong, Central University of Science and Technology—did not care to hold any Syndicate meeting.

In addition, 13 universities—Premier University, Presidency University, Prime Asia University, ZH Sikdar Science and Technology University, Times University, Bangladesh, Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib University, Ranada Prasad Saha University, German University Bangladesh, Global University Bangladesh, International University of Scholars, the University of Creative Technology, Chattogram, Central University of Science and Technology and Anwar Khan Modern University—skipped the Finance Committee meeting and continued to carry out their financial activities.

As per the Private University Act 2010, the number of full-time teachers at private universities was not “satisfactory” compared to those of part-time teachers in all 91 private universities in 2018, the UGC report said. The UGC found that the number of full-time PhD degree-holders was not satisfactory compared to that of part-time PhD degree-holders in the universities.

There were 3,120 PhD degree-holders in 91 universities in 2018. Of them, 1,546 were full-time PhD degree holders, while 1,574 were part-time PhD degree holders. In 2017, the number of teachers having PhD degrees, both part-time and full-time, was 3,416 in 83 universities.

The highest number of PhD degree-holder teachers was at North South University, which was 418, followed by Independent University, Bangladesh and Brac University, 173 each. East West University had 152, Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology 110, Daffodil International University 106 and the University of Global Village had only one PhD holder teacher in 2018. The commission deems that the decrease in the number of PhD degree-holders is not good for enhancing the quality of education.

The commission found that the teacher–student ratio was also not satisfactory at some universities. The ratio at the University of Science and Technology, Chattogram, and the University of Information Technology and Sciences was 1:85 and 1:66, respectively. This was not “desirable at all”, it said.

In addition, the UGC found that only 21 universities out of 91 conducted their academic activities on permanent campuses built on their own land.

The UGC said the universities should run their academic activities on their own campuses in accordance with the law. The UGC recommended that the universities which are not following rules and regulations should be kept under intensive observation to instil discipline in them.

IK