President Abdul Hamid yesterday said commercial courses were turning public universities into business organisations and this was disrupting the atmosphere on the campus.
“Thousands of graduates are being produced every year with these commercial courses. A section of teachers is making profits [from these courses]... and turning the universities into business institutions,” he said at the 52nd convocation of Dhaka University.
Hamid, also the chancellor of the university, said there was a question about how many students were benefiting from these degrees.
“Many public universities assume the character of private universities at night.... This is unacceptable.”
He said some teachers were reluctant to take classes of regular courses, but were very serious about evening and diploma courses, and classes at private universities.
“It is because they get cash benefits from the private universities. But remember, the [public] universities are run with taxpayers’ money. So, you have to be accountable to the people.”
The chancellor said it was the responsibility of vice-chancellors and other teachers to ensure proper use of university funds.
“But the activities of some VCs and teachers make it seem like they have forgotten what the main work of the university is. The work is not just to impart knowledge, but to apply the acquired knowledge,” the president added.
Terming research a very important and fundamental task of higher educational institutions, Hamid said there was a lot of criticism about the quality of research. It has to be taken into consideration whether a research has been conducted for promotion or as a basic research work, he said.
Hamid said many departments have more professors than teachers in other posts. “After having administrative posts, many teachers forget their identity as teachers.”
The president also criticised some university authorities for a number of recent incidents. He said the image of the universities and the reputation of students were tarnished by some inhuman and undesirable incidents.
“These unexpected incidents could have been prevented in many cases if the authorities took the right steps in time. The university authorities concerned cannot totally avoid the responsibilities.”
Hamid hoped the authorities would take proper steps in this regard.
The 52nd convocation of Dhaka University was held on the campus with the participation of 20,796 graduates.
Nobel laureate Dr Takaaki Kajita, special university professor and also the director of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research at Tokyo University, addressed the progamme as the convocation speaker.
Sincerely thanking the Nobel laureate for his gracious presence at the convocation, the president said his presence provided a fresh impetus to the graduates and the DU as well.
Ninety-eight students received gold medals from the president while PhD and MPhil degrees were conferred upon 57 and 14 students respectively.
Seven DU-affiliated colleges also joined the convocation ceremony from two venues -- Dhaka College and Eden Mohila College -- through videoconferencing.