In the Covid-19 situation where the income of many people and institutions in the country has stopped or decreased, the profits of many private universities have increased.
Taking advantage of the situation, most of the private universities are doing more business by cheating teachers, officials and employees. However, they are not giving any discount on tuition fees.
Despite directives from the University Grants Commission (UGC), there are allegations against many private universities for paying partial salaries on the pretext of corona situation. UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah said that all the private universities were instructed to pay the salaries in due time.
Out of the country’s 105 private universities, a few number of the institutions paid full salaries of March and April and Eid bonus to the staff, while some others paid only 30 to 50 percent basic salary. They did not pay Eid bonus.
Against this backdrop, there is frustration among the teachers and employees, but no one is willing to admit it from fear of losing their jobs. Low-paid teachers and employees are suffering the most due to not getting bonus and full salary.
“We struggle to support our family even when we get a regular salary, how can we go survive in the present time with 30% basic salary?” said an employee of Northern University Bangladesh (NUB).
Talking to the Bangladesh Post, he said, “On May 17, I got only Tk 6,000 as salary of April as the authorities paid only 30 per cent from my basic salary. With this money, how will I feed my wife and children or pay the rent of the house. We were not assured that the rest of the money would be paid. That means, the authorities won’t pay us the rest of the salary. However, we did not get Eid bonus.”
It was known that the NUB authorities are paying only 30% of the basic salary to the employees, while they did not pay Eid bonus. “The authorities are looting the rest of the money on the pretext of the Corona situation,” said Advocate Kamruzzaman, a lawyer of Dhaka Judge Court.
He told the Bangladesh Post that the private universities can’t pay half or partial salary taking the advantage of Covid-19 crisis. According to private university act, the owners of the private universities are bound to pay salary and bonus. They have to pay rest of the salaries. Otherwise, they can face legal action if anybody or platform files writ petition in this regard, he added.
When asked, Prof Dr Anwar Hossain, Vice-Chancellor of Northern University Bangladesh, admitted the matter and said that he won’t comment in this regard. He suggested to talk to the NUB chairman or finance section.
Talking to the Bangladesh Post, Sk. Mahabub Rahaman, Joint Director (Public Relations Division) of NUB, said that the university authorities pay 30 to 70 percent basic salary due to present crisis situation as their collection is not enough. The rest will be paid later.
An admin member of the university said the tuition fee for April has been collected without any waiver. Those who could not pay due to not being able to the campus, will be charged later. Less than half of April’s fees collected from the students was used for paying 30% of the salary to the employees. In other words, the authorities have profited more than 50% in cash from the tuition fee collected in April, he continued.
On the other hand, the tuition fees of the students who have not paid their fees yet, will have to pay that at some point, and the whole of it will go to the profit book of Northern University.
The NUB is doing business worth of crores by setting up campuses in different places of the capital including Banani, Kawran Bazar and Mirpur. Taking advantage of the Corona situation, the NUB and some other private universities are doing more business by cheating teachers and officials. Northern University is taking advantage of this situation and profiting at a much higher rate than before. The money given by the students is being consumed by the owner, said some students and teachers of the university.
Like NUB, some other private universities, including Eastern University, Daffodil University, Prime University, Atish Dipankar University of Science and Technology, and the University of Development Alternative, have paid partial salaries.
Like most of the private universities in Dhaka, the universities of the other parts of the country are also not paying salaries of the staff properly. None of the four private universities in Sylhet has given Eid bonus.
Teachers, officers and employees of the Metropolitan University in Sylhet received their salaries for the month of March in May. April’s salary was not paid till now. Teachers and employees were also deprived of getting Eid-ul-Fitr bonus, said a teacher of the university.
The government has announced the closure of all educational institutions in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus, but the UGC has directed to continue online class activities.
Some teachers said that they are taking class-exams even during this epidemic. It has been learned that many teachers are living a dehumanized life without getting salary and allowance even after conducting educational activities.
Meanwhile, BRAC University, East West University, Independent University, North South University, University of Liberal Arts, Notre Dame University and some other universities are paying full salary.