Private universities in the country are not getting students for the ongoing semester amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to admission information from various universities, the coronavirus situation has led to a student crisis in all private universities except for a few, including North-South, East West, BRAC, Ahsan Ullah, United, and Independent University.
According to authorities concerned, universities are not getting even half the number of students admitted in the previous semester. It is known that the first tier universities have been able to fill an average of 60-65 percent of the total seats.
The quotas for East West University and BRAC University seats have been fulfilled. North-South got 1300, and United University got about 450 students.
Meanwhile, the middle ranked universities did not get even 50 percent. Daffodil International University got 500 students and Bangladesh University got 162 students. Universities like IUBAT, Prime, Dhaka International, Eastern, and State University are suffering from a student crisis.
Besides, only 10 to 20 percent of students have been admitted to the new universities. Some of them have not found students for admission as yet.
Dr Abdul Mannan Choudhury, Vice-Chancellor of World University of Bangladesh, told Bangladesh Post, “More than 50 percent seats for the current semester are vacant. In case of the country’s private university admission, there exists a sluggish trend. Students throng for admission to those private universities that charge high tuition fees. Other universities are on the verge of dying out(extinction). Some universities are admitting too many students, others are not getting students. The UGC should set a guideline specifying quota for each university.”
He also said, “Most of the people think that private university students’ are the children of affluent families. But in reality, most of them (60 percent) come from lower middle class families. They pay semester fees by earning from tuition. Besides, universities also offer tuition fee waiver considering different aspects.”
All educational institutions have been closed since March 16 due to coronavirus infection. The closure has been extended till October 3.
The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent examinations will not be taken until the situation is normal, said Education Minister Dipu Moni.
In this situation, the private universities have admitted students in the June-July semester.
In the new semester, there are more than 30 universities with less than 100 students. And the condition of the new universities is even worse. Some universities reduced tuition fees to attract students for admission. Even then, the newly established universities were not able to admit students.
Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh (APUB) President Sheikh Kabir Hossain said, “The new universities (which have been approved in the last 10-12 years) are not getting much response. Old and big universities are a bit better. However, students will not be available until the next HSC exam and results. As a result, the financial problems that are going on now, will become more evident in the future. Especially in the new universities. Their condition is miserable.”
“Three or four top universities have got students in proportion to their seats. Besides, everyone is in big crisis with student admission. Compared to last year’s, this year’s summer semester student enrollment has dropped to 75 percent,” he said.
In this regard, UGC member Professor Dr Muhammad Alamgir said, “The UGC had directed to stop the admission in private universities at the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic. Later, the universities were given the opportunity to admit students considering various aspects including the financial crisis. However, the reality is that they are not getting students even after approval.”
He also said, “In addition to the financial crisis of the family, HSC examination is also a big reason for not getting students now. It is difficult to overcome this student crisis until the situation is normal.”