The Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh (APUB) Saturday sought revision of a government plan to relax rules relating to foreign universities fearing that such a move could encourage letterhead-based foreign academies to choose the country merely for their business purposes.
The government has enacted 'the Private University Act 2010' for governing and guiding the private universities in the country, but formulation of the new rule on ''Foreign Higher Education Operation in Bangladesh 2012” violating the mother law will create a deadlock in the higher education system in Bangladesh.
The APUB leaders made the comments in a roundtable organized at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) here.
Under the Private University Act, they said the higher education under the private universities is being treated as a 'non-profitable' business organisation, but education at foreign institutions is flexible and the organisations will take tuition fees in foreign currency.
Prof. Dr Mujibur Rahman Khan of the College of Agricultural Science under the International University of Bangladesh Agricultural Technology (IUBAT) read out the keynote paper at the function.
Under the Private University Act, a private university would conduct higher education course with four faculties and 25,000 square feet area while under the new rule, the foreign institutions are allowed to run with 15,000 square feet area and only 30 students.
Regarding the permission to run the higher education programme by foreign universities, Dr Shamsul Haque, vice- chancellor (VC) of the Northern University, told the roundtable that they were not opposing the education programme of the foreign universities in Bangladesh, but it should be in line with the existing law otherwise the institutions would become commercial firms.
At present, Bangladesh has 70 private universities to offer higher education but unabated permission to the foreign universities by the government would hamper the quality of education in the country, said Dr Arifur Rahman, Pro-VC of IBAIS University.
The APUB representatives including vice-chancellor of Eastern University Dr Nurul Islam, Prof Abul Quashem Haider, vice- chancellor of World University Prof Dr Abdul Mannan Chowdhury, vice-chancellor of the Millennium University Prof AAM Baker, director of Gazipur University Dr Sohel Al Beruni, among others, spoke on the occasion.
After the enactment of the Private University Act in 1992, private universities started operating in the country. The number of students at the universities now stood at about 300,000.