Students’ concerns should be addressed | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 26, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:29 AM, February 26, 2021

Students’ concerns should be addressed

Why do demonstrations have to spill over into the roads every time?

We sympathise with the students of the seven DU-affiliated colleges who have been victims of a number of uncertainties, first due to the chaos caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and now due to the unplanned and unwise decision making of the authorities. The pandemic has thrown a wrench into the workings of all academic activities and students have already suffered enough for an entire year. The fact that the authorities have continued to make decisions that the students are in disagreement with after such a difficult year is greatly disappointing.

The pandemic has caused huge delays and session jams, which in turn have created major and varying types of problems for students. On top of that, the authorities prematurely announced that university activities would resume on May 24 and student dormitories at those universities would reopen on May 17—meaning that pre-scheduled and ongoing exams at these colleges would get postponed. Following the announcement, students of the colleges under Dhaka University staged demonstrations for two days demanding the authorities hold their ongoing and previously announced exams and reopen their educational institutions and dormitories.

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While we support the students' right to protest against such ill-advised decision making, we cannot approve the blocking of roads by some protesters, which led to huge sufferings for commuters at different locations of Dhaka. But at the same time, we must also condemn this rigid habit on the part of the authorities to make decisions willy-nilly and force students to occupy roads before finally paying attention to their concerns and giving them a fair hearing. This trend can also be linked to other ongoing protests over decisions affecting the students of other universities and colleges.

We call on the authorities to immediately reassure students that whatever final decision is taken will be based on better understanding of the situation and the concerns of students, so that the demonstrations do not continue to spill over into the roads causing traffic jams throughout the capital—and so that the demonstrations end without any violence. Having done that, the authorities must remain sincere to that pledge and whatever decisions are taken must take into consideration the best interests of students and their future.

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