Guardians, students stand firm against politics at private universities
Shining BD Desk || Shining BD
- BCL had earlier this month said it was setting up committees in pvt unis
- Announcement met with criticism from different quarters
- 15,000 letters sent by students, guardians to uni authorities protesting campus politics
- Most pvt unis say they won't allow student politics on campus
A deluge of letters from students and guardians protesting the move to form political committees at private universities has strengthened the educational institutions' resolve to not allow any politics inside their campuses.
As many as 15,000 letters have been sent to different university authorities to not allow student politics in the universities, according to the Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh (APUB), dashing recent ambitions of politicising the private higher education institutions.
Many said they did not want to see the volatile situation present at the public universities to be replicated in the private ones.
Md Mohiuddin Bacchu, a guardian who is also actively involved in politics, said he did not support student politics in his son's university.
"I am spending a huge amount of money for my son's academic life. Sometimes, I even have to borrow money to meet his university expenditure. It will be a great loss if the university remains closed for a certain period of time due to political clashes, so I will never support politics in private universities."
On their part, most private university authorities have also remained adamant that they will not allow any politics on campus.
Professor Dr Atiqul Islam, vice-chancellor of North South University, told The Business Standard that the university will not allow any kind of student politics inside the campus.
"We have no objection if they practise their political ideologies outside the campus," he said.
"Many guardians and students have written to us against allowing any kind of politics. Students and guardians are active members of the university. We will do everything to maintain a good and peaceful academic environment," he said.
Asked what steps would be taken if student political bodies made their way into the university, he said, "We cannot say right now. But we can say we will not allow any political organisations inside the campus at any cost."
A director of Brac University, wishing anonymity, told TBS that the university authorities do not allow student politics in the greater interest of the students as well as the university, but they respect students' political choices.
So far, Brac University, Independent University, Bangladesh and North South University have also said they will not allow their logos to promote any political organisation, although students could choose to pursue their political interests outside campus.
Sheikh Kabir Hossain, president of APUB, in a recent statement said, "We never discourage politics… But the vice-chancellors of the private universities will decide whether political bodies will be functional or not. The students and the guardians can decide about [their] politics outside the campuses.
"We expect that the private universities will take decisions considering their policies and disciplinary measures," he said.
Earlier this month, the Bangladesh Chhatra League, through social media posts, announced that it had formed committees in the country's private universities.
The announcement was met with criticism from numerous quarters, which said it was best to keep politics out of private universities.
This wasn't the first time the BCL had flirted with the idea of forming committees in private universities.
Six years ago, the then BCL president Saifur Rahman Sohag was determined to bring the idea to fruition. "Wherever there is a campus, there will be a Chhatra League committee," he had boldly declared.
But as university administrations, students and guardians registered their vehement opposition to this, the committees did not materialise.
Azizul Hakim, general secretary of the Combined Private University unit of BCL, told TBS that the BCL has been trying to convince university administrations to allow their activities inside the campuses.
"I have spoken to many stakeholders of the private universities. I believe that they will understand our appeal as politics is our basic right. Even the Private University Act-2010 does not ban student politics inside the campuses which support it," he said.
The Private University Act-2010 does not ban student politics at private universities but it says the university will form senate, syndicate, academic council and some other committees. The university needs the chancellor's approval if it wants to form any other committee which is not included in the law.
Professor Dr Md Alamgir, member of the University Grants Commission, told TBS that the UGC still does not see any conflict in entertaining student politics in private universities. "We will give directives if we observe any complexities."
He said the UGC had seen that the BCL had formed some committees, but it needed to know if it had the consent of the respective universities.
"Our message is clear --- that private universities will run their academic activities in line with the Private University Act-2010," he said.
Source - TBS