The government is mulling over offering special incentives to experienced, well-qualified academics to take up teaching positions and work in public universities located in more remote areas of the country.
Public universities located outside Dhaka and the other major divisional cities, have traditionally failed to attract competent teachers. As a result, the authorities of these universities are left with no option but to appoint under-qualified teachers.
“Good teachers often do not want to go to universities situated in remote areas. This has created a disparity in the quality of education that the public universities provide. We want to narrow that gap,” said Professor Mohammad Mohabbat Khan, member of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
“The UGC has already forwarded a proposal to the Ministry of Education recommending special monetary and housing allowances for the teachers in addition to their regular pay,” said UGC Chairman Professor AK Azad Chowdhury.
Professor Mohammad Mohabbat Khan, in charge of looking after the public universities, also said that Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid had hinted that the government might seriously consider the UGC proposal before the upcoming budget.
The gap in quality is most noticeable in the newly founded universities. According to a latest UGC report, there are only 15 teachers in Barisal University, established in 2011. Among them, only one is a professor and just two have PhD degrees.
Established in 2010, the ‘Begum Rokeya University’ in Rangpur has 62 teachers. Of them, only two are professors and 14 have PhD degrees. Of the 94 teachers in Mymensingh’s Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, founded in 2006, six are professors and 14 have doctorate degrees. Comilla University, set up in 2006, has 99 teachers – 14 with PhDs and only one professor.
In, Dhaka University has 1,960 teachers. Of whom 868 hold PhDs and the number of professors is 747.
There is also a stark imbalance in the teacher-student ratio. In Dhaka University, there is one teacher for every 15 students while in Begum Rokeya University, the ratio is one for every 51.
At present, out of a total of 34 public universities in the country, 27 are located outside Dhaka.