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18 May, 2021 07:16:12 PM
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Corruption of VCs reflects moral decay in the university

If the top officials of the university, who are engaged in the great task of enlightening the society in the light of knowledge, are involved in immorality and corruption, then where is the place for the nation to rely on?
Prof Dr Md Mahmudul Hassan
Corruption of VCs reflects moral decay in the university

The university is a credible institution of higher education, where meritorious students from home and abroad are admitted for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Some public universities also offer M.Phil and Ph.D degrees in our country. The highest authority in these universities is the President or Prime Minister as chancellor by virtue of their position and the vice-chancellor who is nominated by the Chancellor. His appointment is confirmed through the Ministry of Education. Vice-chancellors are usually selected from among the talented and experienced professors working in any of the universities in Bangladesh. In the case of a private university, the chancellor becomes the Minister of Education with the approval of the President or the Prime Minister. In all cases, the University Grants Commission (UGC) acts as the governing body for the management of the universities.

It is the expectation of public that the vice-chancellor will be dutiful in duty, dedicated to work, honest in performance, principled in administration, incomparable in leadership, unselfish, fair, impartial, transparent, accountable and in a word, an ideological role model for all.  There are many shining examples of becoming a role model by many VCs in our country. But over time, some of the vice-chancellor’ behaviour and actions have reached such a level of corruption that all universities' vice-chancellors, teaching community, and even the entire nation, are embarrassed.

According to a recent survey, an investigation has been launched against the vice-chancellors of eight public universities in the country for various irregularities and corruption. The work is being done by the University Grants Commission, known as the overseeing body of universities.  The universities are Khulna Agricultural University, Islamic Arabic University, Maulana Bhasani University of Science and Technology, Pabna University of Science and Technology, Jessore University of Science and Technology, Begum Rokeya University, Noakhali University of Science and Technology and Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. The former two of the last two and the current vice-chancellor of the first six are under investigation. Apart from this, the University Grants Commission has already completed the investigation against 13 more vice-chancellors. Most of the allegations against the 21 vice-chancellors are related to nepotism, financial corruption in recruitment, building construction and shopping. There have also been incidents of amending the law and relaxing the conditions to end the recruitment process and take the law back to its previous place. 125 people's appointment of the vice-chancellor of Rajshahi University in his last working day is obnoxiously marked in this regard. The ministry has already declared the appointment illegal.  At present there are 49 public universities in the country. According to a recent letter from the UGC to the Ministry of Education, there are at least 10 types of irregularities in universities. Few of these are opening new departments without prior permission, hiring additional manpower without approval, spending money from one sector to another, purchasing without tender, etc.

Such allegations of immoral acts and corruption against the vice-chancellor of the country's highest educational institutions are undoubtedly painful and cannot be accepted at all. If the top officials of the university, who are engaged in the great task of enlightening the society in the light of knowledge, are involved in immorality and corruption, then where is the place for the nation to rely on?  

Research could be done on why and how the vice-chancellor are involved in such corruption. The news of corruption of the vice-chancellor being published in the newspapers is creating a kind of negative attitude towards the vice-chancellor among the common people. Even many vice-chancellors known as honest were embarrassed by the news in the newspaper. The vice-chancellor of a university is largely incompatible with education, knowledge, research and above all the positions. Because, the vice-chancellor is the executive head of an institution, which is called the highest level of educational institution.  New knowledge is created in the university every day, knowledge is practiced, the method of using the research results for human welfare is discovered, theoretical and practical knowledge is imparted to the students as well as it is made with culture and human values. In a word, the university is a place of pilgrimage for the creation of knowledge and human resources. And here a vice-chancellor has to lead. In addition to the educational activities, the vice-chancellor also has to look after the administrative matters of the university. This too has to be handled very efficiently, as these activities are deeply involved in educational activities.

The standard of ethics in university education has now come into question in the wake of the news of such shameless corruption of the vice-chancellor. According to experts, the VCs are blamed that they do not follow the UGC policy for recruitment, rather they give priority to party interests and do the recruitment process by exchange of money. It is necessary to adopt the highest ethics in the appointment of the vice-chancellor, other policy makers and teachers in the university. The vice-chancellor is the academic and admin head of the university. He will be an enlightened visionary in improving the learning environment and education quality. He will dream about the university and work for fulfilling the dreams by creating a leadership framework among all.

So, a vice-chancellor will be the embodiment of ethics. Seeing his principles and ideals, the teachers, officers, employees and students of the university will become honest followers of his ethics and ideals.  Therefore, the vice-chancellor has to be a role model educator, whom everyone will follow to keep the educational activities dynamic and practice ethical development. The vice-chancellor must be honest and dedicated to his work. He has to love both university and work and work according to plan. There must be transparency in the work and of course the vice-chancellor must be financially and morally honest. Then, just as corruption will be eradicated, it will be possible to teach honesty among the students to prevent moral decay.

A competent and tactful administrator should be appointed as the vice-chancellor without looking at party affiliation and financial trade. Only then he can as a competent guardian think of teachers, students, officials, employees and all members of the university family like members of his own family and come out of the heinous act of revenge, punishment or expulsion out of personal resentment.

It is time to impart knowledge of professional ethics or professional values to all teachers at the university level. We know that professional ethics is the principle that governs the behaviour of an individual or a group in an organization environment.  Like values, professional policies provide rules about how to treat another person and organization in such an environment. There are some universal principles of professionalism that apply to all professions, such as honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty, respect for others, obedience to law, doing good to others, not harming anyone, being aware of responsibility and being fair to all.

The vice-chancellor of a university and the leader of any organization is like a boatman at sea. Just as a boatman with his honest leadership manages the boat honestly and moves forward towards a specific destination, so a VC or a leader with his honesty and skill can motivate the students, teachers-officer and staff for moral development and lead the university forward. Resultantly, the quality of education will be maintained in the campus and at the end of the education, the students also will be able to introduce themselves as ideal people by immersing themselves in the standards of concentration, dedication, honesty and ethics in professional life. Therefore, the teaching and training of professional ethics is essential to prevent corruption of the vice-chancellor and all other officials. In this case, the highest policy makers of the government have to play an accountable and effective role. We expect our university to be a corruption free institution in Bangladesh.

The writer, an education researcher, is Principal, Daffodil International School, Dhaka

 

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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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