May 26, 2013 | 02:01 AM (BD Time)
26 May, 2013 Sunday
Research-an unknown domain in private universities
Prof. Bijon B. Sarma :
Education is the root cause of development of human society. Among the various stages of education, university education is the highest and by far the most important one. There is basic difference between university education and other stages of education. The educations at school and college levels do not have to take care of the creation and updating of their reading materials. There are mechanisms for doing these jobs at higher levels, i.e. college and university levels. But in addition to disseminating knowledge to the students the universities have to take up well-fabricated programs for creating materials for elevating, upgrading and updating their education.
In any country the universities, by all means, are the highest seat of education. They have to contribute in preparing reading materials and suggest systems for disseminating education at all the three stages, viz. primary, secondary and tertiary (i.e. university) levels. While this job for the primary and secondary levels may not be that much difficult for the universities, the same job for themselves is quite difficult and at times cumbersome. In order to perform these jobs the universities need ensure the following :
(01) Continuous research in all fields of knowledge,
(02) Monitoring education in various universities of the country and
(03) Monitoring education in countries all over the globe.
Even though monitoring education at home and abroad may at times be performed by government authorities, research in various fields of knowledge can be done only in the universities themselves. Any "so-called university" without ample scope and arrangement for researches should rightly be called 'institute for learning' and not 'university'.
In the public universities researches have been ensured in the following two ways : (01) Allocation of research funds by the government and (02) Requirement of research experience for the teachers in achieving higher designations. Nothing of this sort exists in the private universities, which run mostly on commercial basis. In a recent endeavour the World Bank through the BUGC (Bangladesh University Grants Commission) has offered research fund for public and private universities. In this case also the performance of the private universities is not satisfactory. In the first round of this project, whereas most of the public universities have got projects, the number of successful private universities is only 2. This indicates, either the private universities are not interested in researches, or they are far behind the public universities in open competition.
In the above context, the government should take steps to introduce research activities in the private universities, such that those do not turn to mere 'teaching institutions' under the umbrella of the noble term, universities. In this article we shall discuss the issues mentioned above and suggest probable solutions for ensuring better education along with research activities in the private universities.
It is said that in the universities, there is no promotion for the teachers, but they get new appointments only. In fact in every stage of appointments, the public universities invite applications through open invitations. Both in-house and external applicants are encouraged to apply and are given equal importance. Research works have been made mandatory at all stages above the lowest strata, i.e. lecturer. After the applications are received those are sent to in-country and foreign experts, where some of the experts are mandatorily nominated by the government. After positive comments are obtained from the experts, the university authorities constitute boards for finding out the most deserving candidates.
The above system indicates that for achieving higher designation the teachers are in need of education, teaching experience and also research experience. In the public universities the government allocates funds for research activities and the teachers, willingly or otherwise participate in such activities in their own interest. However, the case of giving higher designation to the teachers in case of the private universities is quite different.
It was published in the newspaper that a person having a bachelor degree and fake Master's and Ph.D. degrees taught in a private university in Dhaka as head of a department and issued certificates to a number of batches. While this may be a lone case of extreme deviation, the truth is, most of the private universities do not follow any well designed system for giving higher designation to their teachers. Some universities publish advertisements inviting teachers. In such advertisements they ask for teachers with such level of education as may not be available in the country. They also mention their preference for foreign degrees. Such advertisement serves the following purposes :
(01) The universities, in fact, utilise it as their advertisement, alleging that they appoint teachers with higher degrees.
(02) When teachers with lesser degrees from reputed universities appear in interview, they bargain with them for lower salaries, alleging that they lack in qualification.
(03) They appoint teachers having degrees from disputable institutions, mostly from foreign origin.
In such appointments their in-house teachers also are considered for and given higher designations, even though there exists no scope of research for them inside the universities.
The two different systems of appointing and giving designation to the teachers described above have given birth to serious disparity. In the public universities, a teacher in his ripe age may become a Professor after crossing all the hurdles and achieving the requisite education, teaching experience and research experiences. In parallel, in the private universi
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