The government’s plan to introduce a centrally monitored uniform admission system for entrance examinations in all public universities seems uncertain in the face of strong opposition by the authorities of some leading public universities.
Many prestigious public universities like, University of Dhaka, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Jahangirnagar University prefer to continue holding entrance exams following customized questionnaires which has been the conventional practice. If the uniform entrance examination is introduced, the students applying for public university admission tests would have to appear for only a single admission test. Whereas students appearing for individual customized admission tests are forced to buy separate application forms and appear for separate exams at different locations of the individual university. The uniform admission system would comfortably allow selecting and enrolling potential students based on their merits they scored in the admission test.
On the other hand, the individual public university customized entrance examination system involves huge costs from buying multiple admission forms, (for separate faculties) traveling to individual universities for appearing in the tests and other associated costs. Traditionally the public medical colleges have been following the uniform entrance examination system. The medical admission test involves students to appear for a single admission test but from multiple examination centres, which are usually the premises of individual medical colleges. Meanwhile, all agriculture universities have come to a consensus to introduce the uniform admission test system from this year.
President Md Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and former education minister held several meetings with the vice chancellors of all public universities to introduce hassle-free uniform admission test system in all universities. The efforts failed as the concerned authorities of the individual universities could not come to any agreement. The initiative to introduce uniform public university entrance exams was especially considered believing to remove sufferings of students, particularly females who have to travel to multiple places to appear for separate university admission tests.
Professor Md Akhtaruzzaman, Vice Chancellor, University of Dhaka (DU) refused to bend and accept the proposed uniform admission test system. Contacted to comment on the ‘disputed’ issue, he told this correspondent, “University of Dhaka is well respected for its dignity and it has a long history of maintaining excellence in quality of education which is our pride.” In a pleasant mood Professor Akhtaruzzaman said, “The education system of University of Dhaka occasionally has been compared with that of Oxford University. So, it is evident that we maintain our traditions of following enrolling students based on our customized entrance examination system.” He, however proposed that those students who are refused admission but still enlisted in the ‘waiting’ list at DU can always seek admission in other public universities like, Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Patuakhali, Noakhali, Jessore, Rajshahi and Jahangirnagar.”
Professor Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury, Vice-Chancellor, University of Chattogram told Bangladesh Post that he is in favour of introducing the uniform system of admission for first year honours course in public universities in order to reduce hassles and sufferings of students and guardians.
Nevertheless, Professor Chowdhury cautioned against question paper leakage for admission tests. He said, “I would like to make my stand clear that if the uniform system admission is introduced, the government would have to monitor the whole admission process strictly in order to check leakage of question papers.” He explained his fear on possible question paper leakage saying that using advanced technology an organised syndicate becomes very active ahead of such university admission tests in a bid to leak out the question papers and make huge amount of money.
The Vice-Chancellor of University of Chattogram seems unmoved to his decision to continue with the traditional customized question paper examination system. When contacted, Professor Dr. Kazi Shahidullah, Chairman, University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh, said all public universities will have to give cooperation and try to solve the problem. He said, “I also prefer to introduce the uniform admission test system. It is free of hassles and gives confidence to the admission seekers. He also assured that he would speak to DU vice chancellor to try to convince him to agree to introduce the uniform admission system in all public universities.
Education Minister Dipu Moni argued that if the authorities of all medical colleges can hold centrally controlled entrance tests then why not introduce the same system for the public universities?
“Most public universities, especially prestigious higher education institutions, are reluctant to discuss the issue,” she added.