A number of academicians believe that the current students lack patriotism and love for Bangla language due to the absence of subjects on the origin of Bangladesh as an independent nation, and its literature and history in higher education curricula.
University Grants Commission (UGC) had discussed the matter in its 144th commission meeting on June 9, 2016.
In that meeting, a decision was taken to make two courses- History of the emergence of independent Bangladesh, and Bangla Language and Literature - mandatory in every department of all universities across the country.
As part of the UGC decision, these two courses have been included in all semesters starting from this year. The matter has been confirmed by UGC sources.
According to insiders, the curriculum for these two courses was finalized at the end of 2017. The UGC also contacted all universities in Bangladesh regarding the launching of these mandatory courses.
UGC also directed the universities to take at least two classes on the courses every week. Students will get two credits for each of the courses. Several universities have started taking classes on these courses.
Jagannath University (JnU) Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mijanur Rahman said: “We have launched the course titled History of the emergence of independent Bangladesh from this semester.
“But, the Bangla Language and Literature course will begin from the next semester.”
Commenting on the matter, UGC Chairman Professor Abdul Mannan said: “People who do not know about their nation and culture, are like refugees living in their own country.
“It is imperative to teach the younger generation about Bangladesh’s history, language and culture.”
He further said: “Under this notion, we [the UGC] decided that these two courses should be made mandatory in every university of Bangladesh. The two courses have been added to the curricula from this year.”
Professor Abdul Mannan also revealed that the UGC presented a copy of “Swadhin Bangladesher Obvyudyer Itihas” co-authored by Prof Muntasir Mamun and Prof Soumitra Shekhar to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on February 25.
The book titled “Bangla Bhasa O Sahityo” is being compiled by Prof Rafiqul Islam and Prof Soumitra Shekhar. These two books will hit the market in March.
Prof Muntasir Mamun, in the introduction of the “Swadhin Bangladesher Obvyudyer Itihas” wrote: “We have long campaigned for making the history of the emergence of independent Bangladesh a mandatory course.
“We firmly believe that if a student does not study these topics, the person will get a degree knowing next to nothing about their country’s history and origin.”
He added: “Unless they are given these courses, a student will not know about the ultimate sacrifice of the 3,000,000 martyrs in 1971 Liberation War, and about the 500,000 [200,000 according government data] women who were tortured and abused.
“Through these sacrifices, we founded a non-communal and secular country. However, in the past three decades, newer generations have become apathetic towards these concepts.”
Prof Muntasir Mamun further wrote: “This apathy has contributed to the rise of religious fundamentalism and militancy in the country. Without learning the history and origin of Bangladesh, the new generation will forget their roots.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com