POST TIME: 20 June, 2015 00:00 00 AM
Students face acute shortage of hostel seats in Barisal
murad ahmed, Barisal

Students face acute shortage of hostel seats in Barisal

Accommodation for students in Barisal has reached a critical level, with only 2,045 hostel seats available for about 31,200 boys and girls pursuing their higher studies in the city. That means there is only seat for every 20 students enrolled in the lone university, one medical college, and four government colleges, in Barisal. Barisal University started its academic function on January 2, 2012. Now, it has over 3,700 students, 112 teachers, 39 officers, and 117 other employees. But none of them have any residential facility in the university. Students coming to Barisal, which is considered the hub of higher education in the division, from faraway places, have to live in rental accommodations in the city. Sonia Aktar, Abu Jubayer and Muniruzzaman, students of the university, said they were passing through horrible times because there was no facility to stay on campus. Md Abdul Kayum, secretary of Barisal University Shikkhak Samiti, said teachers, officials and employees of the university were facing a similar problem. Kayum said construction work on residential buildings for students, teachers, officials and employees of the university was going on for the past four years. “But, not a single hostel has been completed so far. We don’t know when we will get to live in them,” he added. In the case of Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College, 360 female students were forced to vacate their hostel after the building developed cracks recently. The authorities are yet to begin construction of a new hostel for these students. Dr Bhaskar Saha, principal of the medical college, said the authorities managed to accommodate the 360 girls in residential buildings for doctors and employees, as well as the newly built post-mortem building.
The medical college, with student strength of 1,500, started way back in 1964. Almost all the hostel buildings were built before the country’s liberation. Though the number of students has been increasing every year, the number of hostels to accommodate them has remained the same.
Barisal Government Women’s College, established in 1957 and nationalised in 1987, has 3,600 students, but only 300 seats in two hostels. About 550 students are accommodated in Rowshan Jahan Hall, as against its capacity to house only 350. Moreover, the century-old building is in a dilapidated condition, posing a grave risk to the residents.
The hostel of Sufia Kamal Degree College has a capacity for 150 seats, but 400 female students are residing there. Prof Enayet Hosen, principal of the college, said, “We have sufficient land and space for construction of hostels. But, we need funds from the government to build the hostels.”
Syed Hatem Ali Government College, famous for its commerce faculty, was established in 1966, on 17 acres of land, and nationalised in 1986. The two hostels, Shahid Alamgir Hall and AK Fazlul Huq Hall, have a capacity for only 125 seats, as against the 6,000 students pursuing different courses in the college.
The lower part of Shaid Alamgir Hall, which accommodates about 200 students, as against a capacity for 100, poses life risk, as it can collapse any moment. More than 155 students stay there, as against the 25-seat capacity of AK Fazlul Huq Hall.
College principal Prof. Imanul Hakim said he has informed the higher authorities about the accommodation crisis.
Barisal Government College, which was established in 1963 and nationalised in 1986, has about 4,000 students, but hostel seats are there for only 10. However, even this hostel was demolished to construct an academic building. At present, the college has no hostel for the students.
Former principal, Prof. AKM Mazibur Rahman, said the college has the adequate land for building a hostel, but the authorities need government funds to start work.
Barisal Government Brojo Mohan College, the largest and century-old higher educational institution in the division, was established in 1886 and nationalised in 1964. It has about 28,000 students, pursuing 21 honours and masters level courses. The college has three halls for male students with capacity of 1,200 seats and two halls for female students, with capacity of 320 seats. However about 2,500 male students and 800 female students are residing in those hostels, in overcrowded environment.
Prof. Fazlul Haque, principal of the college, said they were trying to solve the problem by constructing new hostels. He said even the teachers
were suffering due to a lack of accommodation. The college has only 13
residential accommodations for over 200 teachers.
As a result, teachers and students were forced to seek rental accommodations in the city at their own risk. Several students from faraway places and rural areas complained they have no relatives in the city and, therefore, had to manage seats in private hostels or messes, which are not only costly, but also insecure given the present law and order situation.
This lack of accommodation has also discouraged students, especially women, from rural areas, to come to Barisal to pursue higher studies.
Prof. Kayum Uddin Ahmed, secretary of BM College Teachers Association, said students and teachers alike were affected by the accommodation crisis. More than 99 per cent of teachers and staff of BU and government colleges did not have residential quarters. “As a result, many good teachers are disinterested in coming here. It is very unfortunate,” he added.