Public universities are the government funded universities in the country playing a crucial role in providing education at the tertiary level. They have enormous responsibilities to ensure quality higher education for making the generation worthy for the competitive world.
But academic corruption, fund embezzlement and unethical practices are rampant at public universities causing a grave concern.
There is no denying the fact that every corruption begets catastrophe but it must be more devastating when it occurs in the academic arena. There goes a wise saying that if you want to destroy a nation, first destroy their education. So how can we save our education if our universities are highly corrupted? Who are responsible for corruption at the universities? It is obvious that public universities being autonomous institutions are hardly interfered by the outsiders but by the academicians holding high positions in the universities.
More often different news sources state that vice chancellors of most public universities are involved in unethical practices in the country. A number of allegations including irregularities in recruitment and promotion of teachers and employees and nepotism in providing jobs have been brought against VCs over the years. Not only that, they are allegedly doing misappropriation of university funds and many more unethical practices which expose a severe catastrophe in the academic arena. No doubt, our vice chancellors are honourable but how honourable they are when dreams of the nation are shattered at their hands.
According to Transparent International Bangladesh (TIB), in case of appointing teachers and staff of the universities these corrupt vice-chancellors give the most priority to financial transactions and politicization. Not only that, they make excessive appointments without advertising, and manipulation of the exam results.
In many times, University Grants Commission (UGC) inquiry finds evidence of various irregularities committed by the vice-chancellors of many public universities but they hardly have the power to take action against them except submitting those reports to the ministry. Obviously, they can recommend taking actions but it is entirely dependent on the ministry and the government to decide on the issue. In many cases, their irregularities go unnoticed by the concerned, which is really alarming.
Different news sources have stated that most recently a vice chancellor in his last working day, ignored the directives of the ministry and illegally recruited people on various posts. He recruited around 140 people which the authorities have found illegal. This is not the single most incident. Many more incidents of unethical practices of the VCs in most of the public universities are exposing in different times which make us aback that how these universities contribute to meeting challenges of the 21stcentury in building the quality human resources.
These days it is usual to hear the complaints against vice chancellors along with other senior professors of different universities regarding their involvement of sexual assaults, corruption, fund embezzlement and many more immoral activities. Political commentators and educationists are complaining in seminars, symposiums and television talk shows about the dire state of higher education in Bangladesh. Do the honourable vice chancellors have time to think over students’ wellbeing?
Every university produces graduates. But are our universities worried at all about the matter whether they are merely producing graduates or quality graduates? Mainly, our universities are busy with awarding degrees to the students. In most cases, they have little concern over ensuring the quality education for the students to make them efficient graduates. In many cases we have failed to produce efficient graduates that can ensure sustainable development of a country.
It reveals that in most cases the VCs are busy in all regards to pursue their personal desires. It is time to think how they are destroying the prospects of the nation. It seems that committing vice is the first exercise in case of the vice chancellors.
Though the VCs are reckless in violating their power grossly and in many times they are being alleged, no legal action has been taken against them except withdrawing them from their posts, which may encourage them to do more unethical practices using their supremacy of power. According to UGC officials, the irregularities of the VCs could be checked if they are bound to face trials and get punished by the law.
More importantly, it would not be wise for the government to leave the universities to VCs who are not accountable for their deeds and hardly take different initiatives to produce quality graduates but show more interest to accumulate personal wealth by developing a syndicate who supports them to do such corruption.
The writer teaches at Prime University. He is also a research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]