• Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:38 am

Private university students demand holding off tuition fees, online classes, exams

  • Published at 08:20 pm May 5th, 2020
North south private university
Entrance of North South University in Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Private universities are acting like business organizations instead of educational institutions

Students of private universities and Bangladesh Student Federation have demanded that tuition fees, classes and exams not be taken until major problems like weak network, absence of efficient devices, subpar online lab classes, and lack of teachers skilled enough to take online classes, are resolved.

Yasin Arafat, spokesperson for private university students, mentioned the demands through a press release issued on Tuesday.

It may be recalled that a few days ago, the University Grants Commission (UGC) let it be known that private universities could take classes and exams online. 

However, as the press release of the private university students notes, it is currently not feasible for students to carry on with academic activities online because of weak network connection.

A majority of private university students are unable to join classes and exams online. Moreover, not even teachers are skilled enough to conduct these activities online.

Some students do not have suitable devices while many cannot bear the necessary internet expenses. Furthermore, questions abound about the quality of lab classes and acceptability of exams.

In addition to these basic problems, there is the issue of tuition fees. Almost everyone has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and most of the students cannot afford to pay their tuition fees right now.

Disregarding the overall situation of the students and without even discussing the matter with them, the UGC and the private university authorities had been imposing the inhumane and business-centric decision of taking tuition fees on the students.

Some private universities have even publicised class routines for the next semester without even taking the final exams of the current semester.

The universities are acting like business organizations instead of educational institutions, claimed the press release, adding that it was as if the private universities were dealers in certificates and students were their customers.

Condemning these practices, the private university students urged the authorities concerned to uphold the standard of education.

The students also warned they would wage a tough movement if the decisions were forced on them without first dealing with the deficiencies of online academic activities and considering the students’ circumstances.

Their demands are as follows:

It has to be specifically declared that no university will collect semester fees from students until the pandemic is over and semester fees of the students incapable of paying them will be waived.

Until the limitations regarding online academic activities are dealt with, no classes or exams can be held.

Online activities can only run in full throttle after its efficacy is tried and tested for one week, provided that demand number two is fulfilled.

If academic activities do continue online, the authorities have to waive 40% of the fees of the semesters completed online.

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