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  • Last Update : 10:52 am

The problem with public universities

  • Published at 12:04 am October 14th, 2019
Abrar protest
Photo: LATIF HOSSAIN

We cannot stop the buck at merely banning student politics on campus

As we said yesterday, Buet’s decision to ban politics from its campus and suspend 19 of its students who were associated with the university’s BCL unit was definitely a step in the right direction.

Abrar Fahad’s murder has shaken the nation, and we are glad to see meaningful changes taking place at Buet as a result, so as to not let Abrar’s death be in vain. 

However, if we wish to truly learn from this great tragedy, we cannot stop the buck at merely banning student politics on campus.

This should serve as a cornerstone to take a harder and longer look at public education at the tertiary level itself, which remains besmirched with controversy, corruption, and administrative incompetence.

Our public universities continue to suffer from a host of issues, starting from student politics which can reach unacceptable levels of brutality -- as we saw in the case of Abrar Fahad -- to question paper leaks which negate the veracity of the admission process, to general corruption which denotes how teachers are selected and which students get preference.

Somewhere along the decades of progress and fast-tracked development, it seems that we have forgotten that an educated nation is a developed nation, and unless and until we turn our efforts towards taking out the education sector -- primarily our public universities -- from its current quagmire, there will be little to no sustainable progress in the long run. 

Bangladesh is already suffering from a skills gap and a burgeoning population of young people who are unemployed, despite many of them having received a bachelor’s degree. These are the ones who will keep driving the wheels of progress in the future. 

If issues within the public tertiary education system are not ironed out, we are merely setting ourselves up for failure.