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27 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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SHIFTING TO PERMANENT CAMPUSes

Private varsities sluggish

Says education ministry-UGC joint report
HARUN UR RASHID
Private varsities sluggish

A dozen private universities are still not serious about shifting to permanent campuses outside the capital and are offering various excuses, although the fifth deadline issued to them ended in January 31, 2017, says a joint report of the education ministry and University Grants Commission (UGC). Some private universities are still running their academic programmes in rented buildings, despite having permanent campuses in the capital and Sylhet, in violation of the Private University Act, 2010, said the report. The committee, in its final report, said the progress made by some of the universities in shifting to permanent campuses is commendable, but the progress of most others is visibly "nil".

The four-member joint committee, headed by its convener Prof. Md Akhtar Hossain, who is a UGC member, submitted its findings to the ministry on February 25 on the status of 39 universities moving to permanent campuses after the seven-year deadline expired.

The committee observed that before the deadline passed, the universities had appeared serious and cooperative, with as many as seven universities shifting to new campuses, construction work gaining momentum, and a few universities even erecting steel structures to enable early shifting.

But once the deadline was over, the seriousness began to wear off. Applications to the education ministry seeking time extension started piling up (some universities asking for another six years) and overall activities slowed down.

According to the committee, 19 private universities are now operating from their permanent campuses, while 12 universities are still at their temporary campuses even after the passing of five deadlines.

Easter University has shifted partly, World University has sought time till March 2018, and Leading University and the University of Information and Technology have sought time till June 2018.

Manarat International University has applied for an extension of the shifting time by three years, Asian University by a couple of years and Southern University by one and a half years.

Three other universities—Bangladesh University, Dhaka International University and Daffodil International University—have made no visible progress, according to the report.

Even though Daffodil University, Ahulia, Savar, Dhaka International University, Satarkul, Badda, Asian University, Ashulia, Savar, Leading University, Sylhet and Manarat International University have their permanent campuses ready, they are reluctant to shift to those places.

Among the private universities, 17 have been asked to shift their selected programmes to permanent campuses. Except ULAB and Green University, the other 15 have not followed the instructions.

ULAB, which was asked to shift four out of seven programmes, complied with the directive, and Green University, asked to shift eight out of 15, did as told. But Metropolitan University, which was asked to shift six out of 11 programmes, moved two such programmes to its permanent campus and has not even sought any extension.

Uttara University shifted four out of 10 programmes that had been ticked off for shifting. The university runs 33 programmes. It has sought a year’s extension.

BRAC University has shifted only six out of the 20 programmes that had been identified. In all, it runs 50 programmes. It has not applied for any time extension.

The State University shifted four out of the eight programmes they were supposed to shift and has sought a year’s extension.

Like these universities, Peoples’ University, Victoria University, UODA University, ASA University, South East University, Prime Asia, Stamford university, Shanto-Marium, Northern University and Royal University have not followed the instructions and registered  little progress. They have sought time from one year to six years to comply with the orders, says the report.

Besides, the committee found that two universities has not closed their unauthorised campuses and are running their activities by obtaining court stay orders. The University of Science and Technology, Chittagong, has its illegal outer campus at 63, Central Road, Dhanmondi, Dhaka, while City University has an outer campus at 13/A Panthopath, Dhaka.

The Premier University at Chittagong has campuses in four different places under the Chittagong City Corporation, but the Private University Act, 2010 does not allow multiple plots for permanent campuses. In addition, the university has a conflict of interest among the members of its board of trustees (BOT).

The IBAI University has not purchased the designated land for its permanent campus and is also plagued by BOT conflicts. Four universities—Prime University, Central Women’s University, Sylhet International and The Millennium University—have less land than required and have a deadline till June 30 this year to set up permanent campuses.

Presidency University purchased its land within the deadline of  June 30, 2017,and submitted the deed to the UGC. The university was asked to shift four of its programmes to the permanent campus, but did not comply with the order. It has sought extension until December 2018.

The education ministry held a meeting on February 25 in the Secretariat to discuss the next course of action.

Sources said those universities that failed to comply with the directives are likely to be barred from admitting students, but show-cause notices would be served to them before that, with the UGC monitoring their activities.

Deputy secretary of the Secondary and Higher Education Division, Zinnat Rehana, told The Independent that the authorities would seek explanation from those universities that have not moved to permanent campuses after being served show-cause notices. “Stringent steps like barring student admission, convocation and prevention of new programmes would be taken against them. Even the universities that have not shifted all their programmes to permanent campuses will face the music,” she said.

Ministry and UGC sources said private universities were given the deadline to move to their own campuses for the first time in 2012, after the formulation of the Private University Act, 2010. The second deadline was issued in 2013, the third in June 2015, the fourth in January 2016 and the last one in January 2017.

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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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