Almost 35,000 graduates are waiting to be commenced since 2016; they are frustrated and are blaming the authorities for the delay
Since the start of its journey 53 years ago, in 1966, Chittagong University has organized only four convocations, depriving tens of thousands of graduates of a much cherished moment.
Almost 35,000 graduates are waiting to be commenced since 2016; they are frustrated and are blaming the authorities for the delay.
Inadequate logistics support, lack of a proper venue, administrative negligence, and irregularities are named as the principal causes of this problem.
The last commencement of Chittagong University was held on January 31, 2016, which was the fourth convocation of the university, during the tenure of Vice Chancellor Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury. Around 7,194 graduate and post-graduate students, of the academic sessions between 2004 and 2010, attended the program.
While Dhaka University is marking its 52nd convocation today, and Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET) and Rajshahi University (RU) arranged its 11th convocation on November 30, the absence of timely convocations at CU remains a concern for the current students and teachers of the university.
What the former and current students say
Md. Forhad, a former student of the university, said: "It's sad to see that our juniors from Dhaka University are getting their graduation on time, but we were totally deprived of it for a long time."
Bangladesh Chhatra Union Central unit President Mehedi Hasan Nobel, also a university alumnus, told Dhaka Tribune: "It seems the university authorities are only sincere about unimportant things, and sluggish in arranging regular convocations.
"We wish to be a part of a proper graduation ceremony. The last convocation CU arranged was full of mismanagement; we don't want the same to happen next time," he added.
Claiming the arrangements of the last convocation was a mockery, frustrated alumni said the fourth arrangement in 2006 had a shortage of gowns, and many students had to attend the program without gowns, convocation caps were not provided, and even the venue was inadequate.
"It's a shame for our university that it has only arranged four convocations, while most of the other universities have arranged twice as many such programs,” said graduate student Dharma Chandra Tonchongya of the dramatics department.
'This is one of the top irregularities of this university'
Mentioning this problem as one of the top irregularities of this university, Chittagong University Teachers’ Association (CUTA) President Professor Zakir Hossain said: “It is every student’s dream to attend his or her convocation on time, but CU students are being deprived year after year.
"We hope our new Vice Chancellor (VC) will arrange a convocation soon," he added.
Even the Registrar (acting) K M Nur Ahmed of Chittagong University could not give any appropriate answer about the cause of the university’s irregularities.
He said: "Convocations are organized according to the Vice Chancellor's decision.”
Describing the process as lengthy and requiring immense preparation, Vice Chancellor Professor Shireen Akhtar said: "Though I joined the university very recently, I am consulting with the authorities to arrange a convocation next year.
"We are hoping to make our decision by next January," VC Shireen added.
The first convocation was held at CU on February 6, 1994, when Prof Rafiqul Islam Chowdhury was the VC, and graduates and postgraduates between 1968 and 1982 attended it, said administration sources.
In the second one, held five years later on March 13, 1999, graduate and post-graduate students from 1983 to 1994 participated. Prof Abdul Mannan served as VC at the time.
The third one was held nine years later on November 5, 2008, during the tenure of Vice Chancellor Prof M Badiul Alam. Graduate and post-graduate students of academic sessions between 1995 and 2003 attended the commencement.