Khulna University syndicate has sacked two of its teachers and suspend another on charges including breach of discipline, ill demeanour and anti-administration activities.
Lecturer Hoimonti Shukla Kaberi of history and Bangla’s lecturer Shakila Alam have been fired while Assistant Prof Md Abul Fazal of Bangla have been suspended. Fazal claimed that the decision was premeditated.
The decision was taken at the 212th syndicate meeting held Saturday morning.
University sources said the trio was served show-cause notices on Oct 13 last year on charge of inciting students who had demonstrated on the campus on Jan 1-2, 2019 on the campus to press home demands including reducing fees and resolving residential crisis.
They were asked to respond within three days. The university served another round of show-cause notices on them on Nov 9 last year. After they responded, the university formed an investigation committee on Nov 24.
The three teachers were summoned by the university administration on Dec 10 to assist in filing the report. Three days later, a special syndicate meeting was called and they were show-caused again.
Responses to the notices were furnished on Jan 10 but another syndicate meeting on Jan 18 issued final show-cause notices.
They were asked to respond within Jan 21.
A syndicate member, declining to be named, said a decision on taking punitive measures against the trio was taken at the Jan 18 meeting.
“After a prolonged discussion on the syndicate’s decision and the teachers’ response, the syndicate decided to punish them,” the member said.
Assistant Prof Abul Fazal told reporters that they did not get any cooperation from the investigation committee and they were not given the probe report.
“We even brought a no-confidence proposal on the investigation committee but it was not accepted,” he said. “It was a pre-meditated decision of the administration. We’ll take further steps after getting the papers.”
With a strict health guideline in place and vaccine at hand, the government will likely reopen the educational institutions soon, ending a months-long closure forced by the virus.
Although there has been no official announcement, all educational institutions were ordered on Friday to finish preparations to reopen within February 4 maintaining health guidelines to ensure safety of the students and the staff.
In a notice, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) told the heads of all educational institutions to prepare for reopening.
DSHE prepared a guideline and asked the educational institutions to follow them so that they can be reopened as soon as the order comes.
“The matter is very urgent,” the notice read.
Educational institutions were shut on March 17 last year after the country confirmed its first Covid-19 cases on March 8. The closure was extended in phases to Jan 30 this year.
Bangladesh Covid situation improving
Things are looking bright for Bangladesh in the fight against Covid-19. The infection rate is falling and the number of deaths has been declining over the last few days.
The total caseload reached 530,890 on Friday morning with 7,981 fatalities. The daily infection rate fell to 4.17% with 1.5% mortality. So far, 475,561 patients have recovered (89.5%), according to a government handout.
On May 12, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments that before reopening, rates of positivity in testing (aka daily infection rate, i.e out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days.
Bangladesh approved the emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on January 7, allowing Beximco Pharmaceuticals to bring doses from the Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing the vaccine.
Under the deal, Bangladesh will import 30 million doses in the next six months. Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the first consignment will arrive on Jan 25-26.
Meanwhile, the country received 2 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Jan 21 from India as ‘gift’.
On December 28, Bangladeshi pharmaceutical company Globe Biotech got approval from the DGDA for manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine for clinical trials.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said Dhaka University has to come up with innovative quality research to improve the standard of education.
“Research is a must. Bangladesh is now self-reliant in food. We’re now advancing in every sector [and] it’s the result of quality research,” she said, putting emphasis on conducting more quality research for the advancement of the country.
Sheikh Hasina, also a former student of the university, made this remarks while addressing as chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of centenary conference of DU titled ‘Celebrating the 100 Years of the University of Dhaka: Reflections from the Alumni – International and National’ at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban on the campus.
DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman presided over the conference.
The PM said DU can show us the direction to produce skilled and quality manpower capable of adapting to the fourth Industrial Revolution and contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as building a prosperous Bangladesh.
She said the Dhaka University had played leading role in every achievement of the country. “It had to sacrificial a lot. The holy ground of the university witnessed bloodshed of its teachers and students in every democratic movement, including the Language Movement, mass uprising of 1969 and the Liberation War,” the PM said.
Improving education standard
Addressing as special guest, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said Dhaka University will have to play the leading role in improving the country's quality of education.
She said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we’ve got an opportunity to complete the unfinished work of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Dhaka University will have to play a leading role.
“In terms of ensuring quality of education and research, we didn’t yet reach our expected level in global ranking. Dhaka University will have to take responsibility to elevate the quality of learning and research to the highest level,” she said.
Dipu Moni said by identifying the shortcomings and limitations, the university has to take some time befitting initiatives and implement them to secure position in global ranking.
Eminent economist Prof Dr Rehman Sobhan presented a keynote speech.
He said, “Our public educational system remains the refuge of the less privileged sections of the population. The challenge before our policymakers who aspire to lead us through the 21st century towards attaining developed country status is not just to expand but to elevate the quality of learning in our public institutions to the highest levels.”
Sobhan said responding to such a herculean challenge, we should begin with the regeneration of Dhaka University.
He noted that this would require massive investment of resources and at the same time quality governance needs to be ensured.
At the same time the student must be emancipated from the tyranny of violence and partisan dominance which have vitiated the residential character of the campus and made learning into a challenge rather than an opportunity, he added.
“Such challenges both for the development and governance of Dhaka University should not be beyond the capability of a strong and committed leadership. Creativity, determination and recognition of the need to prioritise quality education over the 21st century is a must for that.
“Enabling Dhaka University to realise its full potential as an institution would be visualised as a vital landmark in our progression towards developed country status and the construction of a more just society,” he said.
More webinars scheduled
Six thematic webinar series will be held throughout the year with one every month following the first one – Science for Society in February, followed by Arts, Literature and Culture in March, Business in April, Social Sciences in May and Futures of Higher Education in June.
“We’ve set three primary goals to achieve from the webinars – learning and achieving the techniques to implement SDGs by 2030, making a 4th industrial revolution-friendly Dhaka University and giving the country skilled manpower,” said Dr Akhtaruzzaman.
“Besides, we are working to arrange an international conference in London in collaboration with the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), British Council and Bangladesh High Commission, London in mid-July,” he added.
DU Pro-VC (Academic) ASM Maksud Kamal, Pro-VC (Administration) Mohammad Samad and Treasurer Mamtaz Uddin Ahmed were also present on the occasion.
Dhaka University history
Dhaka University, which is considered the country’s highest echelon for academic excellence, started its academic activities on July 1, 1921 with 12 departments, three faculties, 60 teachers, 877 students and three residential halls on 600 acres of land.
After 99 years, the university has 13 faculties, 13 institutes, 84 departments, 60 bureau and research centers, 19 residential halls, four hostels, 138 affiliated colleges and institutions, 46,150 students and 2,008 teachers.
The university played a vital role in the country’s history. Its students and teachers sacrificed their lives in the 1952 Language Movement, 1969 Mass Upsurge, the 1971 Liberation War and the anti-autocracy movement in 1990.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the government has restored academic atmosphere in all the educational institutions and now it is the responsibility of teachers and students to perform their respective responsibilities.
"There has been no rattles of guns [on campuses] since we’ve formed the government… we’ve brought back the academic atmosphere. Now it’s the responsibility of the teachers and students to teach and learn," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while virtually addressing an international conference titled ‘Celebrating the 100 Years of the University of Dhaka: Reflections from the Alumni – International and National’ on the occasion of the university’s birth centenary with a theme, 'Achieving Sustainable Goals and Building a University Suitable for Fourth Industrial Revolution and Creating Skilled Human Resources'.
Sheikh Hasina said it is not possible to advance the country further without an educated nation.
"It’s not possible to have poverty- and hunger-free Bangladesh as dreamt by the Father of the Nation without having an educated nation. That’s why we always give the topmost priority to education," she said.
The Prime Minister said higher education is absolutely needed to catch up with the fast-moving world. "That’s why we’ve given importance to science and technological education."
Hasina said the government has diversified education in Bangladesh and established universities in many districts across the country. "The Father of the Nation had wanted to build Golden Bengal and we’re working towards that end."
Talking about the history of the Dhaka University, she said this university always played its role in all struggles for establishing democracy in the country and led every democratic movement, including the Language Movement, Independence and anti-military dictator movements.
"One must not see Dhaka University as just an educational institution as it’s the institution of Bangladesh that showed us the path of all achievements," she said.
Also Read- ‘Thank you’: Hasina to Modi
Sheikh Hasina, who is also an alumnus of the university, said she wanted to see further development of the Dhaka University.
About the fourth industrial revolution and manpower, she said that the Dhaka University can take the lead in building skilled manpower which can be followed by other universities of the country.
Hasina said the government is working for the development of the university and a master plan in this regard has been formulated.
"We want to see Dhaka University as a modern knowledge and science-based one. And this university will get every cooperation from my side," she said.
The Prime Minister urged Dhaka University authorities to give greater focus on doing research work as it can take the country to its desired level.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni addressed the opening ceremony as special gust while prominent economist Rehman Sobhan presented the keynote speech. It was held at the university’s Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban with DU Vice-chancellor Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman in the chair.
A total of six thematic webinar series will be held throughout the year with one in every month following the first one – Science for Society in February, followed by Arts, Literature and Culture in March, Business in April, Social Sciences in May and Futures of Higher Education in June.
Regarded as the country's prestigious academic institution, Dhaka University has taken grand plans to celebrate its centenary as well as the golden juvenile of Bangladesh's great Liberation War in 2021.
The university started its academic activities on July 1, 1921, with 12 departments, three faculties, 60 teachers, 877 students, three residential halls on 600 acres of land.
Education Minister Dipu Moni on Thursday urged the Dhaka University authorities to improve the education standard to international level.
“In global perspective, we are yet to reach the international level in education and research. So, the Dhaka University has to take responsibility in this regard,” she said at a virtual event on “Celebrating the 100 Years of the University of Dhaka: Reflections from the Alumni - International and National”.
DU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman presided over the function while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took part as the chief guest.
“The institution has a lot of history from 1921-2021. DU played a significant role in the country’s history, education, democracy, and culture. Actually, the institution had a part in all important achievements of Bangladesh,” the education minister said.
Dipu Moni hoped that DU would play a role to face the Forth Industrial Revolution.
“We’ve succeeded economically and now, we want to improve our higher education. Universities need modern libraries and education elements too,” she said.
Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman of Centre for Policy Dialogue and Convener of International Conference Organizing Committee Professor Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, among others joined the webinar.