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16 March, 2019 09:25:33 AM
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Students suffer due to seat crisis in discussion room

RU central library
Jahidul Islam, RU
Students suffer due to seat crisis in discussion room

Students of Rajshahi University (RU) are facing an acute crisis of seats in the discussion room compared to the requirement at the central library on the campus. So, they start gathering in front of the central library from 4am to get a seat in that room, though the library opens at 9am.

They have to wait for three to four hours as they keep their bags to mark their positions in a queue. But many of them fail to get any seats in the discussion room. They either go back to their dorms or sit on the veranda of the library for career-oriented studies.

The students have demonstrated, formed human chains, launched signature campaigns and submitted memorandums to the varsity authorities, demanding an increase in library facilities. They complain that the library has eight air conditioners, but all of them are lying defunct due to lack of timely repairs. As summer temperatures soar in Rajshahi, students using the library face immense suffering. Moreover, the number of ceiling fans is insufficient.

The authorities say it has not been possible to repair the air conditioners in time due to shortage of funds. They said efforts were being made to provide proper facilities, though on a limited scale.

Abdul Latif, a master’s student of Islamic history and culture, said, “We submitted a memorandum to the vice-chancellor, Prof M Abdus Sobhan, on February 5, demanding the opening of a self-book system that will let students enter with their own books and the opening of another reading room  on the third floor. But nothing has been done resolve our problems.”

“Around 80 employees work in the library, though there are insufficient readers. They provide us no facilities barring the opening and locking of doors at the scheduled time.”

Despite a huge collection of books in the central library, the number of readers is low. The library remains open from 9am to 7.45 pm, except on Fridays and Saturdays. Most students are not interested in visiting the library. There are about 400 to 500 seats in the library, but most of them remain empty all the time.

Sources say less than 1,000 students come to study in the library in a week, even though the university has more than 35,000 students.

According to students, however, unnecessary restrictions imposed by the authorities discourage them from using the central library, but there is a keen interest in going to the discussion room as there are no restrictions on visiting that room.

Some 33,874 students are currently enrolled in the university. Of them, 22,290 are male and 11,584 female, said a source.  Of the total, only 8,130 students—5,061 male and 3,069 female—reside in

17 different student dormitories, the source added.

During a visiting to the library, this correspondent found long rows of bags in front of the discussion room at the central library, formed by students reserving their place in the queue.

The only intention is to occupy a seat in the discussion room with inadequate seating arrangements. On the other hand, the main gate has four ‘Digital Attendance Monitoring System (DAMS)’, installed at a cost of Tk. 40 lakh, to ensure proper monitoring. But students avoid using the DAMS.

Jewel Rana, a master’s student of the political science department, said, “I have been living like others in a four-seated room in my dormitory. To avoid any distraction, I utilise my time at the hall reading room. The seat crisis hampers me from getting a seat there every day."

Prof. Subash Chandra Shil, administrator of the central library, said, “The library has a huge collection of books. But students have become more dependent on notes and class lecture sheets. That’s why they do not visit the library and prefer the discussion room."

But the students alleged that they did not get their desired books and updated information in the library as most of those books were older editions and not updated regularly. Besides, there are various restrictions to getting access to the library, they noted.

In response to a question, Subash Chandra Shil said: “We are always positive about students. We have sent a proposal to the highest authorities. Hopefully the problems will be resolved after the recommended proposals are approved the authorities."

RU student advisor Prof. Laila Arjuman Banu said: “We are aware of the students' demands. We are trying our best to meet them. It takes to time to provide facilities to them as our central library has a separate regulation.  A proposal has been sent to the syndicate in this regard. Proper facilities will be made available after a decision by the highest authorities.”

BK

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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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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