The government on Thursday appointed Dr Satya Prasad Majumder, an Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) Department professor, as Vice-Chancellor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).
Besides, Dr ASM Maksud Kamal, a professor of Disaster Management Department of Dhaka University, was appointed as new Pro-VC (education) of the University.
While disclosing appointment of the BUET VC through a gazette notification, the Education Ministry said the appointment was made for the next four years as per approval of President and Chancellor of the University. It will come into effect without any delay, it added.
Since joining BUET in 1981, Dr Satya Prasad served in various positions at the department, faculty and university lavels, including head of the EEE department from June 2006 to May 2008.
In a separate notification, the education ministry said the post of Pro-VC at Dhaka University remained vacant as Dr Nasrin Ahmed, a professor of the Department of Geography and Environment, completed her tenure.
Dr ASM Maksud Kamal was appointed to the vacant post of Pro-VC for the next four years as per approval from President and Chancellor of the University, it added.
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Since schools have shut down, there has been a significant reduction in the total time students spend studying from 10 hours to merely 2 hours a day, a staggering drop by 80 percent, according to a recent study by the Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), Brac University.
In a webinar hosted on Thursday, BIGD presented these alarming findings.
With schools closed all across the country, one would intuitively think that the time students used to spend in classrooms would now be devoted to self-studying.
But findings from the study show that self-study hours have in fact declined significantly since the school closure.
Different remedial measures of virtual learning to make up for the school hours have also not been very effective.
The study shows that only 16% of the students watch educational programs like Ghore Boshe Shikhi and Amar Ghorey Amar School on television (TV).
Moreover, of the small number of students who do watch these educational TV programs, a large percentage do not find them helpful. Furthermore, the percentage of students who watch educational programs on the internet is even lower—just 1%.
Meanwhile, on the one hand, just as students’ study hours have declined; on the other, the rate of child labor has climbed shockingly high.
Findings suggest that after schools shut down, the percentage of children who spend more than two hours a day working for the family’s economic needs has increased from 4% to 16%.
In addition, the percentage of children who work two hours or more a day doing household chores has also increased from 1% to 13%.
Though these findings are primarily from rural areas, the students in urban slums also present a similar picture.
Dr Imran Matin, Executive Director, Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), Brac University said the country's core strength has always been community-based innovative approaches - and therefore we must utilize this core strength to tackle the many challenges of the pandemic - be it in designing social protection programs or in generating digital innovations in education.
"We must consider handholding approaches or community-based hybrid approaches enabled through NGO-based initiatives and government policies to drive digital innovations in the education sector, and tackle first-generation learner constraints that are present in rural households of Bangladesh.”
Dr Niaz Asadullah said the learning landscape in terms of time spent in studying by children in Bangladesh, has collapsed from 10 hours to 2 hours.
He said rural children are now spending double the time behind household chores.
"However, the rise in time dedicated to non-learning activities is not enough to compensate for the collapse in time dedicated to learning activities - in fact, 6 hours or 50% of waking hours after school closure was found 'unaccounted for' by our research. In our next phase of the research, we will further delve deep into this issue."
The education system in Bangladesh has always struggled to ensure quality education for 40 million children enrolled in schools.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this learning crisis as all educational institutions across the country have been closed for over two months with no immediate plans for reopening.
To learn how the children in Bangladesh are coping with school closure and if the remedial measures of virtual learning are working, Dr. Niaz Asadullah, Professor of Economics at the University of Malaya; Anindita Bhattacharjee, Senior Research Associate; Montajina Tasnim, Research Associate; and Farzin Mumtahena, Research Intern at BIGD surveyed over 5,000 students from urban slums and rural regions across Bangladesh.
Dr. Asadullah presented the key findings from the study in the webinar.
Rasheda K Chowdhury, Executive Director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE); Prof Dr Syed Md Golam Faruk, Director General, Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education; Dr Shafiqul Islam, Director of BRAC's Education Program; and Dr Mohammad Mahboob Morshed, Assistant Professor of the BRAC Institute of Educational Development (BIED) also spoke at the webinar as panelists.
The webinar was moderated by the Executive Director of BIGD, Dr. Imran Matin, who closed the event emphasizing the importance of education to keep the nation’s young minds sharp and the necessity of evidence-based policies to address this crisis and minimize the negative impact that months of schools closure due to COVID-19 can have on education, learning, and future earning potential.
Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) tenure has expired on June 22 after an extended tenure of 90 days since the one year anniversary of the office bearers’ taking charge.
The one-year tenure of Ducsu ended on March 22 this year which was later automatically extended for 90 days as per Section-C of Article-6 of the Ducsu charter.
"The elected office bearers shall hold office for 365 days. In case the election is not held in time, the elected office bearers shall continue for a further period not exceeding 90 days or until holding of the election, whichever is earlier, after which the union shall stand dissolved automatically," the charter added
Ducsu President and the university vice-chancellor Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman said a dialogue of stakeholders including all political students wings need to be held to hold next polls.
While Ducsu VP Nurul Haque Nur demanded continuation of the body and said, “We want extension of current committee since we have many tasks left incomplete due to indefinite closure of university following the coronavirus pandemic.”
Nur complained that he asked the VC on June 14, about holding the polls but DU VC and Ducsu President Prof Akhtaruzzaman did not respond.
Meanwhile, Ducsu Assistant General Secretary Saddam Hossain who was elected from Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) panel, said they would leave their posts as their tenure expired.
Saddam said: “It is immoral and undemocratic to hold the offices violating the constitution. University students will not accept such undemocratic gesture as they practice democracy.”
DU VC and the President of Ducsu prof Akhtaruzzaman said: “I don’t think that other universities could arrange the student union polls, what DU has done already after the inactiveness of almost three decades.”
“The election will be held following the rules as per as constitution,” he further said.
Education Minister Dipu Moni on Monday said all scholarship and stipend distribution activities under her ministry have been digitalised so that students can get money without any hassle.
“Money will reach students' personal mobile accounts through G2P as it has been digitalised,” she said at a virtual meeting on distribution of stipend money for 2019-20FY.
A total of 1,992,780 students of 27,000 education institutions in 492 upazilas will receive stipend money of Tk 328.14 crore in their mobile accounts through G2P system from Bangladesh Bank.
The money was disbursed and will be dposited in the students' mobile accounts by June 24, the Education Minister said.
Besides, the Minister inaugurated Tk 17 crore scholarship distribution activities for 83,964 students who passed PEC and JSC in 2019 through G2P.
Every year over 187,384 students receive Tk 187 core scholarships under various categories under the Ministry of Education, she added.
The scholarship and stipend money will reach students' mobile accounts gradually, Minister added.
The online scholarship distribution programme has been dedicated to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman this year on his birth centenary.
The overall activities will be conducted online and money will be sent to students’ mobile accounts directly from Bangladesh Bank.
Deputy Minister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, General Director of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) Dr Syed Md Golam Faruk, DSHE director Shahedul Kabir Chowdhury, Coordinated Stipend Programme Scheme Director Sharif Murtaza Mamun among others were present.
Educational institutions will remain close until August 6 considering the worsening coronavirus situation.
On March 16, the government closed all educational institutions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Later the closure was extended in phases.
The government has extended the closure of all the educational institutions of the country until August 6 considering the worsening coronavirus situation.
The decision has been taken considering the safety of the students amid the global pandemic, Mohammad Abul Khayer , public relations officer of the Education Ministry told UNB.
On March 16, the government closed all educational institutions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. No classes have been held since that day.
Bangladesh on Monday reported 3099 new coronavirus cases in the span of 24 hours, raising the number of total confirmed cases to 90,619.
“The deadly virus claimed 38 more lives during the same period, taking the death toll in the country to 1209,” said Additional Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr Nasima Sultana at its daily online briefing.