Scholars demand to abolish uniform policies against universities’ autonomy

Hasan Al Manjur

Teachers of public universities have demanded the repeal of the uniform policy on recruitment and promotion of teachers of all public universities in the country adopted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Education.

More than 200 teachers from different public universities of the country including Dhaka University (DU) attended the human chain at the base of the anti-terrorism Raju memorial sculpture at DU on Thursday (September, 05).  

The teachers present in the human chain requested Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on behalf of the Bangladesh University Teachers Forum to abolish the uniform rules regarding recruitment and promotion of teachers of all public universities.

Instead of having uniform policies for all the universities, the teachers proposed to formulate a timely practical policy by calling on the Academic Council of the respective universities.

Assistant Professor Altaf Hossain Russell of Kushtia Islamic University read a statement in favor of Professor Kamrul Hassan Mamun, a professor of Physics at Dhaka University, who is the principal coordinator of Bangladesh University Teachers Forum.

The statement said, "According to both the Ordinance 1973 of the University's Autonomy and the Establishment of the University Grants Commission (UGC), in the light of autonomy, 'the University will set its own standards.  

And UGC will only determine the size of the university's needs.  However, at the 146th meeting of the UGC held on 25 April, 2017 a uniform policy on the appointment and promotion of teachers of public universities was adopted, which is a deliberate attempt to control the improvement of the university beyond the scope of UGC. In view of this, there is widespread outrage among the university teachers on the one hand. On the other hand, the Ministry of Education and UGC are trying to impose the policy on the universities."

This uniform policy, adopted by the representatives of the UGC, was chaired by the Education Minister in the Ministry on 25 August this year. The policy states that the uniform policy has been formulated to eliminate the complexities of the teachers 'salary structure after formulating the National Pay Scale, 2015', which discriminates between the quality and degree of students of different universities.  

The Bangladesh University Teachers Forum feels that the uniform policy that UGC has formulated by calling the present university education discriminatory is against the wrong generalization of the higher education and autonomy of the university, and to deny the present government's development of education for the last ten years.

Professor Kamrul Hassan Mamun said, "Those who want to make the university uniform, they have no idea about the university.The university is called another country within the country. As a country has a parliament, the university has a parliamentary syndicate. All the rules of the University shall be decided by the teachers of the it. It is not a matter of imposing anyone outside the university."

"Can any government official understand what the appointment process of a university teacher will be like? Since teachers are so important, the process of hiring teachers around the world is complicated.That we can understand.This is not a matter of impose.The recruitment process will be diverse for each university. So the attempt to unify the universities does not go with it’s perspective." 

Nasrin Sultana, another teacher in the human chain, said, "We are teachers. Our work is to teach, play a role in the formation of the nation. We do not want to get in the way of the state. Do not force us to go for movements."