The University Grants Commission (UGC), apex body of all the affiliated public, private and international universities of Bangladesh, has sought to exercise more control over private universities, according to a recommendation in its 43rd Annual Report.
Currently, there are 37 public and 95 private universities in Bangladesh. UGC does not provide funds to any private university.
According to a report, UGC does not have adequate manpower to monitor and control the level of education in both private and public universities, although the number of students has increased.
Previously, UGC put forward a proposal to fix the tuition fees of private university students, but it was not implemented.
UGC sent a recommendation to President Mohammed Abdul Hamid to amend Private University Act 2010. The Standing Committee of the Education Ministry formed 'Sub-Committee 1' at the beginning of this year to amend the law. The sub-committee arranged several meetings to revise and amend parts of the University act. UGC has sent the revised recommendations to the President.
According to the recommendations, no changes or modifications to the Board of Trustees can be made without prior approval from the Commission. A government official will be appointed to monitor the trustee board commission.
Also, money or dividends reserved in the name of a university cannot be withdrawn or transferred to another bank without the commission's permission. Permission should be sought from the commission to use the dividend for a university's development activities.
The Dhaka Tribune has learned that the UGC has assigned an education ministry-appointed Chartered Accountant (CA) to conduct audit of private universities.
A written complaint from officials of the commission or a relevant government agency is required for any law enforcement action under the Private University Act 2010. However, to fulfill the purpose of the law, the government can apply the rules of the Gazette in accordance with the advice of UGC.
There are allegations that many UGC officials are always busy travelling abroad. They are not available in their office most of the time.
It has been learned that Professor Abdul Mannan, recently appointed chairman of UGC, went abroad 26 times in the last two-and-a-half years.
When asked about recommendations to amend the University Act, UGC Chairman Professor Abdul Mannan told the Bangla Tribune that recommendations to amend the Act are put forward to the government every year, but they are not implemented.
This article was first published in Bangla Tribune