Vice-chancellors of the country's public universities yesterday painted a grim picture of their teachers' recruitment and promotion process, saying different irregularities take place during the procedures as there is no uniform set of guidelines.
The common irregularities include appointing more teachers than the posts advertised, recruiting less qualified candidates leaving the deserving ones and promoting teachers even though they don't meet the required criteria, they said.
Besides, the standard of education is not the same everywhere as different universities follow different guidelines for teachers' recruitment and promotion, they said.
They suggested holding a mandatory written test for teachers' appointment and ensuring their training.
The VCs made the observations at a workshop at University Grants Commission (UGC) auditorium in the capital.
The secondary and higher education division of the education ministry organised the workshop to finalise a draft set of guidelines, prepared by the UGC, on the recruitment and promotion of teachers of public universities.
Coming up with some examples of irregularities, Prof Mijanur Rahman, VC of Jagannath University, said Dhaka University recruited many teachers “who did not even have the minimum qualifications”.
Also, the DU authorities appointed teachers deviating from the advertisements, he alleged, adding that the unified guidelines would have to check these irregularities.
Prof Md Harun-Ur-Rashid Askari, VC of Islamic University, Kushtia, said there was a serious contradiction in the current recruitment and promotion guidelines of all the 42 public universities.
There are some universities where a teacher has become a professor with only 10 years of teaching experience, he said.
According to the proposed guidelines, a person must have teaching experience of 22 years to become a professor.
With many of the teachers getting "undue promotion" competing in the 21st century would be challenging, the VC said, demanding a strict implementation of the draft unified guidelines.
Presenting a context of formulating the draft guidelines, Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed, VC of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, said, "Anarchy is going on in the public universities over the recruitment and promotion [of teachers], as certain universities follow certain guidelines.
"Public universities are run by public money and therefore we have to be accountable,” he said.
Prof Farid demanded the government start implementing the new guidelines from January 1 next year without any further delay.
National University VC Prof Harun-or-Rashid opined that a mandatory written test should be held for recruiting teachers, saying that if needed a similar test might be taken for promoting a lecturer to an assistant professor post.
He laid emphasis on giving incentives to the best teachers to encourage others.
Referring to some irregularities in DU, he said nine teachers were recruited against the advertised posts for three.
New departments were created from existing ones, he said, adding that the university syndicate and the UGC “did not take” any step in this regard.
Talking about irregularities, Prof ASM Maksud Kamal, president of the Federation of Bangladesh University Teachers' Association, gave some examples and said they saw how a lecturer at a university got promoted in just two years despite having no publication.
On the new draft guidelines, he said similar guidelines were formulated in the 90s but these remained unimplemented because it was not done in consultation with the teachers.
"We, the teachers, have prepared a major portion of the draft guidelines, yet the UGC brought some changes without any consultation," he said, adding that the draft guidelines could be implemented after some fine-tuning.
He further said the objective of the guidelines would be to improve the standard of all universities.
Rajshahi University VC Prof Abdus Sohban suggested considering the results of a candidate's graduation and post-graduation, not that of SSC and HSC, for appointing him or her as a teacher.
University of Barisal VC Prof SM Imamul Huq suggested incorporating teachers training in the draft guidelines.
"All the professions have training, but there is no facilities of training for university teachers. It should be mandatory," he said.
Echoing similar views, Jahangirnagar University VC Prof Farzana Islam suggested considering recruiting teachers with English-medium background.
UGC Member Prof Md Akhtar Hossain gave a presentation on the guidelines at the workshop. He said the committee that formulated the guidelines would finalise them with some necessary changes suggested by the VCs.
UGC Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan said the guidelines were being prepared to improve the country's tertiary-level education.
Terming the draft a “primary document”, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said it would be finalised soon. Later, it would be made mandatory for every public university.