The association also placed forward three proposals for reconsideration for the sake of the country’s students
The Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh (APUB) has requested the government to reconsider the proposed hike in the supplementary duty on mobile phone services, saying it will add to the burden of students, who are now attending classes online.
Thanking Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for formulating an optimistic national budget at a time of a global crisis, the association also placed forward three proposals for reconsideration for the sake of the country’s students, said a statement released on Monday.
Mentioning that this year’s allocation for the country’s education sector accounts for 11.69% of the budget, up by 0.01% from the allocation for the outgoing fiscal year, the statement also called for introducing affordable high-speed internet packages to students for educational purposes.
The association also said as the whole world now has been experiencing rapid shifts in different sectors due to the coronavirus outbreak, businesses are being interrupted as a result and education systems are now going through a transformation across the world.
“In line with the global development, educational and academic activities in Bangladesh are now being conducted online. Since the end of March, the country’s private universities, along with a large number of schools and colleges, have been forced to become heavily dependent on virtual learning,” the association said.
“However, the budget for the next fiscal proposes to raise the supplementary duty on mobile phone services, which includes voice and data, to 15% from the existing 10%. We believe that costlier mobile internet will add to the burden of students, who are now taking classes online.”
The association placed the following proposals before the government for reconsideration:
— The supplementary duty on mobile phone services has been proposed for a hike by 5 percentage points to 15%. We urge the government to abolish the supplementary duty for students. We also urge the government to provide high-speed internet for free at all public and private universities for the sake of the students.
— We also call for introducing affordable internet packages to students for educational purposes. These special packages, just like the ones for other subscribers, can be offered to the students through their universities. We have already forwarded a proposal on the matter to the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications, and Information Technology. We request you to reconsider the issue.
— In an effort to ensure salaries and allowances for teachers and other staff members of private universities, we urge for a block allocation in the budget for 2020-21 fiscal to provide financial assistance to the universities. It will help the universities to ensure that faculty and staff are not adversely affected due to any temporary shortage of funds.
The statement also said it had already submitted an application for an allocation to Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
“We are confident that the country will overcome the crisis under the leadership of our Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. But, we also have to keep in mind that only the countries with skilled manpower will be able to bounce back in a post-coronavirus world” the statement said.
“It is important to pay equal attention to public safety, health, business as well as education and research, so that we do not fall behind in that race.”