Uniform Admission Test: DU opts out

After Buet and CU, Dhaka University and Rajshahi University yesterday decided not to adopt the uniform admission test proposed by the governing commission last December.

The DU Academic Council at a meeting last night decided that the university will continue to enrol students through its own method of admission tests, said several professors who attended the meeting. Buet and Chattogram University made similar decisions earlier.

The DU authorities also decided to suspend for five weeks the enrolment procedure in the evening courses.

The DU Academic Council at a meeting last night formed an 18-member committee, led by Pro Vice Chancellor (education) Prof Nasreen Ahmad, to formulate a guideline for the evening courses in five weeks.

"Issuing admission advertisements and fresh enrolment will remain suspended during the time," DU Vice Chancellor Prof Md Akhtaruzzman told reporters after the seven-hour meeting at Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban.

"After the committee submits its report, it will be placed at the university academic council meeting. We will take further steps considering the nation's need, capacity of the university and in light of the guideline," the VC said.

Other members of the committee include Pro VC (administration) Prof Muhammad Samad, deans of 13 faculties, and directors of Institute of Business Administration and Institute of Education and Research.

At the same meeting, the council decided that the university will continue to enrol students through its own method of admission tests, said several professors who attended the meeting.

The uniform admission test has been rejected to protect the university's "uniqueness", Abul Mansur Ahmed, professor of mass communication and member of the DU senate, told reporters during a break in the meeting.

"Dhaka University has its own heritage and it's unique… The decision of not adopting the uniform admission test was taken unanimously," he said.

After deciding about the admission tests, the professors started discussing whether to stop enrolment in the evening courses.

A committee consisting of five deans on February 9 recommended stopping enrolment of students in the evening courses until a guideline was in place.

It was a closed-door meeting, but the microphones and speakers at the senate were left on for nearly an hour, allowing reporters outside to hear what was being said inside. About 15 professors were heard saying that they were against stopping enrolment in the evening courses. Only two professors said the committee's recommendations to shut down the courses should be implemented.

Most of the academicians said the university earned a lot from the tuition fees paid by the students of evening courses and sometimes the evening courses brightened DU's image.

Prof Kamal Uddin of the business faculty said that the university earned Tk 50 crore a year from the courses and if the courses shut down, the university will be deprived.

Prof Kamal appears to have made an about turn on the issue because in a senate meeting in 2017, he slammed the evening courses, saying the university was not a money-making machine.

"In the name of evening courses, many public universities, including Dhaka University, are producing under-qualified graduates. A section of teachers of our university are playing an active role in introducing and continuing these below-standard evening courses for their personal gains. But they should keep in mind that the university is not a money-making machine," he had said.

At yesterday's meeting, Prof Chowdhury Saima Ferdous of international business said, "What has happened that warrants shutting down the evening programme? We offer quality education in the evening courses."

KM Saiful Islam Khan of Persian studies was one of the two professors who said during the first hour that the evening courses should stop.

"Those courses are tarnishing the image of the university. The students enrolled in those courses outnumber the entire university's regular students. We have to consider the need of our regular students because their classes are being hampered," he said.

Referring to the Ducsu leaders' appeal to shut down the evening courses, Prof M Muzahidul Islam, director of the evening programme, Master of Tax Management, said, "Many of the Ducsu leaders got admitted into the course I direct. Even several leftist leaders, who want free education, got enrolled into the course. I do not think that they want it to stop."

Prof Tofail Ahmed Chowdhury, dean of science faculty and convener of the evaluation committee that submitted its report earlier this month, addressed the meeting, saying why the evening courses should stop until the guidelines were made.

Prof Tofail later told reporters that as he spoke, many of the professors shouted "shame, shame".

Expressing his support for the evening courses, physics Professor ABM Obaidul Islam, also convener of the BNP-backed senate panel, said some courses could be reformed if need be, but shutting down would not be wise.

Criminology professor and senate member Zia Rahman said, "Those evening courses brighten the image of the university indirectly."

He questioned the "seriousness" of the evaluation committee's report.

Meanwhile, Rajshahi University at its academic council meeting chaired by Vice Chancellor Prof M Abdus Sobhan also rejected the uniform admission test.

Emerging from the meeting, the VC told journalists that the uniform admission test posed risks of question paper leaks, and ensuring standards would be difficult in uniform test.

"We take pride in the fact that there was never an instance of question paper leak in our admission tests. Also, the standard which we maintain while organising the admission tests… we are not sure if the uniform test will ensure that. Therefore, the academic council has decided not to adopt uniform admission tests," he said.

University Grants Commission earlier decided that a uniform admission test would be held at all public universities.

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