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Reopening of dorms: DU throws ball in govt's court amid Covid-19

  • Published at 10:25 pm December 24th, 2020
Dhaka University DU- Syed Zakir Hossain/DT
A general view of the British Raj-era building, Curzon Hall, which is now used as the building for Faculty of Sciences of the Dhaka University Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Various student organizations of DU continues their protest

Throwing the ball in the government's court, Dhaka University (DU) Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Akhtaruzzaman on Thursday said the final decision to reopen the varsity's residential halls amid Covid-19 would depend on the directives of the Health Ministry.

"The decision to reopen the dormitories before the exams has to be taken at the national level, and that too, after taking into consideration the advice of the Health Ministry experts," the VC told a delegation of student union leaders.

"A letter from UGC on Wednesday clearly said that the halls should remain closed. However, the exams can be conducted. At the moment, reopening an educational institution is a national decision. But we do not want to go beyond that and put the nation at risk," Akhtaruzzaman added.

UNB had earlier reported about the growing clamour for reopening of the dormitories in the wake of Dhaka University's decision to hold final-year exams for honours and master's programmes from December 26.

Addressing the delegation, the VC said: "I do not disagree with the students' demand. But we have to take into consideration the pandemic situation. If anyone takes a hasty decision today, it could pose a huge risk to the country."

Bangladesh Chhatra League's (BCL) DU unit President Sanjit Chandra Das and General Secretary Saddam Hussaian led the meeting, where proctor Prof AKM Golam Rabbani was also present.

Meanwhile, various student organizations of DU on Thursday continued their protest, demanding residential facilities before the commencement of exams.

Activists of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Parishad staged a protest, demanding reopening of dorms, adherence to social distancing norms, security for examinees and a separate Covid-19 unit at DU medical centre.

Bin Yamin Molla, one of the key leaders of the organisation, said they would continue their protest until the reopening of the dormitories. He also demanded digital devices and data pack for students facing problems in attending online classes.

Salman Siddique, president of the Socialist Student Front's DU unit, said: "Most students of the university live in villages, and they cannot afford to stay anywhere other than the halls. So, we demand immediate reopening of the dormitories."

Later, they took out a protest march from TSC area and submitted a memorandum to the VC. Other demands of the students include waiver of extra session fees and penalty for late fee payment.

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