The government gave the approval on Wednesday, a high official of the education ministry asking for anonymity tells The Daily Star.
Of the universities, two will be set up in Dhaka and one each in Chittagong, Khulna, Kushtia and Manikganj, taking the number of country’s private universities to 91.
In a recent meeting with the education ministry in Dhaka, educationists requested the government authorities to stop giving permission for any more private universities, but the suggestion has gone unheeded.
Apart from that the government had a policy not approve universities in the districts where there are not higher educational institutes. Among the five places, only Manikganj district has no university.
Officials wishing anonymity told the Bangla daily Prothom Alo that the ruling party leaders and ministers remain behind the approval of the new universities.
In Dhaka, entrepreneur Jamim Habib got the approval to set up an university -- University of Scholars -- in Badda while entrepreneur Chowdhury Nasir Sharafat will establish the other university -- Canadian University of Bangladesh -- in Tejgaon.
In Kushtia, Zahirul Islam, a former law faculty dean of Islamic University, secured the approval for setting up Rabindra Maitree University. Among the board of trustees are Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu and his wife.
In Manikganj, Ishaq Ali Khan Panna, a former general secretary of Bangladesh Chhatra League, and Md Shasur Rahman got the go-ahead to establish NPI University of Bangladesh.
In Chittagong, the entrepreneur of University of Creative Technology Chittagong in Chandgaon is Md Osman.
In Khulna, the Khulna branch of Northern University has been allowed to operate as Northern University of Business and Technology.
There were more than 100 applications for setting up new private universities, but these six made the cut.