Universities should appoint vice-chancellors and teachers based on their academic merit, rather than political affiliation, academics said at an event at Dhaka University on Thursday.
Speakers took part in the launching ceremony of “Dhaka Biswabidyalaya: Notun Juger Sondhaney (Dhaka University: In search of new era),” jointly edited by Imtiaz Ahmed and Iftekhar Iqbal, at the Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Building on the Dhaka University campus.
Addressing the event, Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairman of Dhaka-based policy think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said there was a time when Dhaka University would evaluate academic credentials and excellence when recruiting teachers.
Nobody was recruited or promoted in the administration or governing body for political reasons, he added.
He said attempts to capture Dhaka University began after the appointment of Monem Khan as the governor of then East Pakistan.
During Monem Khan's term, Mahmud Hossain was removed from the vice-chancellor's post in Dhaka University and replaced by Osman Ghani.
Since then, the appointment and promotion of teachers have been influenced by politics, Rehman added.
These incidents gave rise to student politics at that time, and many movements were organized against misdeeds of universities, he said.
Prof Rehman Sobhan said many people used the movements for personal gain. Cashing in on the movements, some were promoted to administrative posts.
Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain said incompetent people are appointed based on political affiliation, and this culture should be stopped immediately as the quality of education at Dhaka University has drastically fallen in recent decades.
The principal drafter of the Constitution also said deserving teachers longing for promotion are often disqualified, and the vice-chancellor's appointment should not be based on political affiliation.
Recalling renowned intellectual National Professor Abdur Razzaq, he further said the nation needs more teachers who can inspire others to acquire knowledge.
Kamal further suggested forming a commission to strengthen Dhaka University ahead of the celebration of 100 years of the university.
CPD Distinguished Fellow Prof Rounaq Jahan said the number of educational institutions has increased, but the quality of education has dropped drastically.
She further said there is a sharp contrast between universities in Bangladesh and overseas as the latter follow a much more rigorous process – from student admission to teacher recruitment.
Rounaq also said teachers should not use student organizations to gain personal benefit.
The book, “Dhaka Biswabidyalaya: Notun Juger Sondhaney (Dhaka University: In search of new era),” was published by Prothoma Prokashan in association with German foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.