Education Ministry’s fear of losing a share of authority has created uncertainty over the formation of a Higher Education Commission that was proposed by Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid two years ago.
Seeking anonymity, some University Grants Commission officials made the claim to the Dhaka Tribune.
They said the Education Ministry did not want a Higher Education Commission as they feared that the ministry’s power might be shared.
UGC officials claimed that the Higher Education Commission was in limbo mainly because of the unwillingness of the Education Ministry.
Under the present structure, Education Ministry mainly takes decision regarding universities, however, the UGC can make recommendations to the ministry, they said.
Although on September 16, 2012, Nahid said in parliament that the government had planned to set up a higher education commission in order to widen the scope of higher education in the country, such an organisation is yet to see the light of day.
Meanwhile, the minister has spoken about the commission in many of his speeches at different times.
Despite his assurance, little progress has been made regarding the commission so far.
Earlier University Grants Commission (UGC) submitted a draft proposal of the commission to the ministry, following which, Nahid held a meeting with the top brass officials of UGC on Thursday to discuss the modifications made in the draft.
Source in the meeting said UGC had objected some of the modifications claiming that under such structure the Higher Education Commission could not function properly.
UGC officials said by the modification, power of the commission was curtailed. Upon their objection Nahid requested them to state the objections in a written form.
So far the ministry have discussed the draft with UGC officials several times but nothing was finalised.
On the other hand, UGC, that was formed at a time when there were a few public universities and no private universities, is currently struggling to monitor 79 private and 37 public universities.
At present, the commission is operating with the same structure it was born with.
UGC chair AK Azad Chowdhury said they were facing difficulties to properly monitor universities as the higher education sector had expanded over the years.
He said he was hopeful that the Higher Education Commission would be set up soon.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said the process was delayed because the ministry was extra careful about it.
“It is delaying as we are extra careful. We are working on it and it will be set up soon,” Nahid said while speaking at a conference last week.