A number of relatively unheralded private universities made it to the top 10 of the factual ranking of private universities – that looks at their facilities and infrastructure – shedding light on the difference between perceptions and facts about private universities in Bangladesh.
The Dhaka Tribune-Bangla Tribune Private University Rankings 2017, published on Friday, ranked 20 universities based on two criteria – Factual Score and Perceptual Score.
The two scores, when considered separately, had some notable differences.
In the Factual Ranking, well-known, older universities like Brac University, Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) and North South University (NSU) finished as the top three, and American International University Bangladesh (AIUB) and Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST) came in fifth and eighth respectively.
But young universities like the University of Liberal Arts (ULAB), University of Development Alternative (UODA) and Primeasia University surprised many by coming in fourth, seventh and ninth respectively.
In the Perceptual Ranking, ULAB and Primeasia come in at rank 8 and 20.
The Perceptual Score was a survey of academics and employees about the quality of the private universities and their graduates and the Factual Score was based on the facilities and infrastructure of the universities. The Factual Score contributed to 40% and the Perceptual Score contributed to 60% of the overall grading.
The differences in the two rankings may serve to show that some universities, while not very well known, have achieved a great deal, while others, who are reputable universities, may be lacking in strength in some significant areas.
One example of the latter is East West University (EWU), one of the oldest and largest private universities in the country, which came in 18th in the Factual Ranking and seventh overall. As was Daffodil University, which fell behind many newcomers at 20th in the Factuals.
The Factual Scores, based on 2014 UGC data, was made from several variables that were considered in the study to be key indicators of the facilities a university provides.
Four broad variables were considered: faculty, student services, research and learning resources.
One of the things that made the difference in the Factual Score was that while many universities had large facilities and many resources, their large student pool meant that per student, the resources were less than what other universities were offering.