On October 15, 1985, the roof of Dhaka University's residential Jagannath Hall collapsed. The tragedy claimed the lives of as many as 40 people, including 26 students and 14 guests. Since then, October 15 is observed as a day of mourning for the university.
But some 35 years on, nothing much has changed when it comes to the safety of residential halls of Bangladesh's most prestigious university. At least eight such halls where thousands of students reside are in a ruinous condition. The walls have developed deep cracks and the plaster is flaking off.
Despite being dubbed unfit for human habitation by engineers, students claim the university authorities have virtually turned a blind eye to the vexing issue. The risky dormitories are Bangladesh-Kuwait Maitree Hall, Surja Sen Hall, Salimullah Muslim Hall, Jagannath Hall, Fazlul Haque Muslim Hall, Sgt Jahurul Haque Hall, Shahidullah Hall and Mohsin Hall.
Students allege that there have been several cases of plaster collapse at these halls in recent years, but the university authorities are just not bothered about their safety. They say the authorities just carry out temporary repair work, leaving the structures again in a vulnerable state.
Salimullah Muslim Hall, for instance, established in 1921, has become so dilapidated that students say the two-storey building could collapse like a pack of cards any moment. But the authorities, students say, are "unmoved".
Noyon Ahmed, a resident student of the hall, said, “We reside here taking our lives in our hands. Many of us have received minor injuries due to plaster collapses. We are left with no other option but to stay on as we cannot afford better places due to financial constraints."
Dhaka University's vice-chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman, however, said they have chalked out a masterplan to renovate the century-old university. "The plan includes repairing old dormitories and constructing new ones. It is true that a number of buildings are risky. But an initiative has been taken to repair the decades-old buildings."
The masterplan includes developing infrastructure and technological facilities, improving accommodation arrangements, setting up a world-class library, modernising the gymnasium and medical centre, and making the campus more green, UNB has learnt.
DU's acting chief engineer AKM Afzalul Haque also admitted that most of the dormitories are old, but said that the buildings would be repaired soon. "We will take all necessary measures to mitigate the risk of any untoward incident," he added.
Read Also: DU mourns Jagannath Hall tragedy
The Islamic University will celebrate the 56th birth anniversary of Sheikh Russel, the youngest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, on its campus in Kushtia on Sunday.
IU Sheikh Russel Hall will organise the event by placing a floral wreath at Sheikh Russel’s mural in front of the hall in the morning.
Later, a cake-cutting ceremony and webinar will be held to mark the day.
Sheikh Russel Hal provost Professor Rabiul Islam said all preparations had been taken to celebrate the birth anniversary in a peaceful atmosphere maintaining social distance.
On August 15, 1975, Sheikh Russel was killed along with most of his family members, including Bangabandhu, when he was just a student of class four.
Mehedi Hasan of Daily Kalerkantho and Sazzadul Kabir of Banglanews24.com were elected as the new President and General Secretary of Dhaka University Journalists' Association (DUJA) for the next one year.
The election was held at its office at Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) ofDhaka university (DU) on Sunday.
Other office bearers are- Vice President: Ashiq Abdullah Apu of The Daily Star; Joint Secretary: Abdullah Al Jobair of Daily Sangbad; Office Secretary: Ismail Sohel of Daily Nayadiganta; Treasurer: Abu Sayed Isiam of Daily Ajkaler Khobor; and Executive Members: Mamun Tushar of Daily Alokito Bangladesh, Mehedi Hasan Bellal of Daily Amader Somoy and Mazharul Islam Robin of Daily Samakal.
A total of 43 members of the association cast their votes.
DUJA was established in 1985.
A legal notice has been served to the authorities concerned seeking reconsideration of the Education Ministry’s decision to publish results of Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) based on the results of JSC and SSC.
Barrister Shihab Uddin Khan sent the notice on behalf of HSC candidate Shatabdi Roy of Mofazzal-Momena Chakladar Women's College in Savar.
On Wednesday, the education minister announced at a media briefing that HSC exams would not be held this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. An alternative evaluation system would be used, she said.
The notice said many students would be deprived of good results because of such decision.
The petitioner has sought evaluation based on the results of the test examination of the respective colleges.
In the notice, secretaries of the ministry, secondary and higher secondary department, the Director General of the Department of Secondary and Higher Education and the chairmen of nine education boards have been made defendants.
If the demand is not met within three days of receiving the notice, a writ petition will be filed with the High Court for realisation of the fundamental rights of education, the notice read.
The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent examinations will not be held this year, Education Minister Dipu Moni said Wednesday.
She made the announcement at a virtual press conference on HSC examination arranged by the Education Ministry.
Dipu Moni said an alternative method of evaluation will be used this time.
“The HSC results will be evaluated based on the students’ JSC and SSC results,” she said. “The results will be readied by December.”
Dr Dipu Moni said the decision has been taken considering the global pandemic and planning for a risk-free exam is virtually impossible at the moment
“There is no guarantee when the coronavirus situation will return to normal…Accuracy, reliability, avoiding health risks to students in taking HSC exams should be kept in mind while planning,” she said adding that 30-32 working days will be needed to take the HSC exam.
“The decision to place one student on each bench for the exam and follow all the hygiene rules, it would require double number of centers. If the center is to be doubled, the manpower has to be doubled. It is difficult for the ministry,” she said.
The number of subjects can be reduced to take the exam but every subject is important for higher secondary level students.
“The bigger risk was that if a student gets infected or someone in his or her family gets infected after we start to take exams what will happen to that examinee,” Dr Dipu Moni said.
She highlighted that In foreign countries like India, China and Hong Kong have either canceled or postponed public exams that are similar to HSC.
The Education Minister noted that the decision was taken after consultation with the examinees, teachers, parents, health department and other stakeholders.
The Minister also announced that a technical committee will be formed comprised of officials from relevant sectors to decide the marking parameters from SSC and JSC examination results.
“Some students change their group (Science, Commerce or Humanities) after the SSC exam, the technical committee will be helping in their evaluation,” she added.
Dr Dipu Moni also noted that the committee is expected to submit their report in this regard within the first week of November.
She noted that there is a possibility of holding uniform admission tests in universities.
“It will be discussed with the universities and the Covid-19 pandemic situation will also be taken into consideration while making the final decision,” she said.
Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel’s comments
Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel said if the exams were to be postponed for next year, the country would lag behind.
"If we wait, we will fall behind on a global scale...Alternative evaluation methods have been used in many places around the world to solve the issue," he said.
The HSC and equivalent examinations were scheduled to begin on April 1, but the government was forced to postpone it on March 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Educational institutions closure
All educational institutions were closed on March 16 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The closure was extended until Oct 31 as there has been no marked improvement in the situation.
Besides, there will be no Primary Education Completion (PEC) and its equivalent Ebtedayee examination for 2020 and the students will be promoted to the next class through class assessment instead.
Dipu Moni on Sept 30 said they are making plans considering various alternatives since experts have warned about the possible second wave of coronavirus during winter.
No JSC, JDC, PEC, Ebtedayee this year
On August 27, the government decided not to hold this year's Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC)examinations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There will be no Primary Education Completion (PEC) and its equivalent Ebtedayee examination for 2020 and the students will be promoted to the next class through class assessment instead.
The PEC and Ebtedayee examinations were scheduled to begin on November 17 with around 30 lakh students preparing to appear in the exams.
Coronavirus Situation in Bangladesh
Bangladesh on Wednesday reported the death of 35 more patients from Covid-19 in 24 hours spiking the total fatalities to 5,440.
Health authorities reported 1,520 new cases of Covid-19 after testing 13,032 samples during the period.
The fatality rate in Bangladesh is 1.456 percent while the daily infection rate declined to 11.46 percent.
So far, 3,73,151 patients have been detected in the country since March 8 after testing 20,26,808 samples and 18.41 percent of them have turned out to be Covid-19 positive.
The country saw the recovery of 1,798 former Covid-19 patients in the last 24 hours till Wednesday 8 am which pushed up the number of total recoveries across the country to 2,86,631.
A handout of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) provided the latest information confirming that the recovery rate has climbed to 76.81 percent in Bangladesh.