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20 April, 2017 12:16:18 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 April, 2017 10:50:55 AM
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MBBS students face uncertain future

University of Science and Technology Chittagong
HARUN UR RASHID
MBBS students face uncertain future

The lives of several thousand MBSS students at the University of Science and Technology Chittagong (USTC) hang in the balance, thanks to the negligence of the varsity authorities.

The Private University Act, 2010, does not allow private universities to run medical courses. But the USTC, a private university, has been running it for a long time with the permission of the health ministry.
Citing the education ministry, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has now written to the health ministry, requesting it to explain how it had permitted a private university to run medical courses.
The UGC has also requested the health ministry to shut down the courses, as these can only be run by public institutions.
UGC sources also said that the USTC has been denied the permission to hold convocations for a long time due to its unapproved activities. The law says that the convocation has to be held every year. 
The sources also said a case is currently on against the USTC for running such unapproved courses.
According to the sources, the last convocation of the USTC was held in 2011. They had applied to the chancellor for permission to hold that convocation.
Education ministry sources said that violating the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) policy, which permits admission to only 75 students based on merit, the USTC authorities enrolled extra students to their MBBS courses. The USTC had allegedly admitted 400 students in 2011-12, 450 in 2012-13 and 300 in 2013-14.
As a result, the BMDC had denied registration to 1,150 students—both local and foreign—from these three academic years. The students staged a demonstration on the streets and laid siege to the USTC vice-chancellor’s office on January 5 this year. In all, 1,344 students—local as well as from countries like India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Bhutan—joined the agitation.
On January 12, the students withdrew their protest after the USTC and BMDC authorities assured them of some action. But nothing progressed in two months. The students then laid siege to the VC’s residence on March 1. The police and the VC talked to the students, who again withdrew their protest after assurance of favourable measures.
An intelligence report has stated that a violent agitation programme like campus vandalism, arson, or roadblock may happen any time as the future of the students is uncertain. The report has suggested that the matter should be resolved after consultation with the USTC and BMDC authorities.
The report has mentioned that a solution should come as soon as possible considering the image of the country, the lives of the students and the continuation of education.
After reviewing the situation of the university and considering the future of the students, the health ministry on February 2 fined the university authorities Tk. 10 crore. The ministry asked the USTC authorities to deposit the money by March 22.
“We have deposited Tk. 3 crore out of the Tk. 10 crore with the government on April 5. We have also given an undertaking to deposit the rest of the fine,” USTC registrar Prof. Badrul Amin Bhuiyan told The Independent on Tuesday.
Asked about the fate of the students, he said, “We still don’t know anything about it. Everything depends on the health ministry. The ministry has not told us when the matter would be resolved. We are hopeful of a solution.”
He, however, refused to tell this correspondent why they had started the MBBS course in a private university in the first place.

 

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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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