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6 March, 2020 00:00 00 AM
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Sacked private university teachers seek redress

UGC sources say the body has received at least five complaints from teachers who were dismissed without prior notice
HARUN UR RASHID, Dhaka
Sacked private university teachers seek redress

The sacking of private university teachers without prior notice is a matter of concern for the smooth functioning of universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) said. UGC sources revealed that the commission had received at least five complaints in writing from teachers who had been dismissed without prior notice from different private universities over the last several months.

The UGC declined to reveal the names of these teachers to ensure an impartial investigation. The commission said that the sacking of teachers without prior notice and without giving any opportunity for self-defence is a violation of the service rules. Such firing of teachers is tantamount to harming their social status and prestige. Such incidents hamper the smooth functioning of universities, it added.

The commission also said that the sacked teachers were yet to receive their outstanding dues and other benefits from the universities that had discharged them.

“We have received five complaints in writing in the last several months. These teachers had been sacked without prior notice, which is a violation of the service rules. In their letters of complaint, the teachers mentioned that the universities are dilly-dallying to pay their dues and gratuities,” Fakhrul Islam, director of the UGC’s Private University Division, told The Independent on Tuesday.

“A teacher contacted us on different occasions and expressed grief over losing their job without prior notice. The teacher was denied entry into the university through withdrawal of biometric access. The teacher could not enter the university for nearly eight months,” he said.

“Later, we called the university authorities to explain the matter. Finally, after a long time, the teacher managed to get a portion of the dues from the university,” he added. Fakhrul also said that

the university authorities must provide at least three months’ notice when sacking a teacher. The teacher must also be informed about the specific grounds for the dismissal. A show cause notice has to be served against the teacher seeking an explanation. “But such procedures are not being followed by private universities. It creates grievances within the faculty and ultimately hampers the academic atmosphere,” he added.

He further said that there is a quality assurance mechanism at each university to assess the performance of teachers. “Even if the assessment report of a teacher becomes negative, the teacher has to be given a chance to improve. But such chances are not given in many cases,” he observed.

He mentioned that a number of former private university teachers had filed legal cases after being sacked without substantial grounds despite working at those universities for 18 years. “We hope the court will provide better directives in this regard. A teacher came to us on Monday and told us that the court has taken their matter into cognisance. The court questioned how a teacher could get sacked without valid grounds after working for 18 long years,” he added.

“Many universities don’t have any service rules. As a result, they hire teachers at low pay and fire them at will,” Fakhrul said.

“However, we have been successful in compelling these private universities to develop such rules. Around 50 per cent of universities now have service rules in place. Others are working on it,” he noted.

“We want to bring the service rules under legal purview to safeguard the jobs of teachers. But it is not possible for us to monitor compliance with the service rules at the field level. If any aggrieved person files a complaint with the UGC, we will definitely investigate it,” he added.

UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah said, “It is undesirable to sack any teacher without valid grounds and without offering any chance for self-defence. The universities must follow the rules.”

“We don’t have the capacity to take direct action. We can only recommend that the education ministry take the necessary action. Strengthening of the UGC is necessary so that we can take prompt action to ensure smooth functioning of universities,” he added.

The chairman said private universities can play a major role in developing skilled manpower, but the pressing need is for the universities to function properly while following the rules.

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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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