On February 6, the UGC sent a letter to Gopalganj University asking it to not enrol any students in the history department from this year on
The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalganj has been running its history department without taking any approval from the University Grants Commission.
On top of this, no teaching staff has been appointed to the permanent positions at the department in the past three academic years.
Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Md Shahjahan has been acting as the chairman of the department.
Interestingly, the authorities hired teachers of different academic backgrounds other than history to run the department. The attempt ended up in a failure.
Sources at the UGC and the Gopalganj university said former vice-chancellor Professor Nasir Uddin, who was removed from his position over alleged irregularities, created the department whimsically to demonstrate his supremacy.
Sources also revealed that such malpractices are nothing new for the university. Last year, a former chairman of the computer science and engineering department received his MA certificate with his own signature. More interestingly, he prepared the question papers and evaluated his own answer scripts.
On February 6 this year, the UGC sent a letter to the Gopalganj university asking it to not enrol any students in the history department from this year on as its operation is illegal.
At present, there are 424 students in the department, and the first batch was enrolled during the 2017-18 academic session.
After the UGC's letter, the unusual activities of the then vice-chancellor came to light. The history students have started demonstration, demanding approval of their department from the UGC.
The agitated students locked down the administrative building on Thursday. They also vowed to continue the protests until the department is approved by the UGC.
However, the UGC told the university that it would not approve that particular department. But it assured that it would take measures to save the students' academic life.
According to the UGC's 1973 law, a university must take permission from the UGC for opening any department and faculty, and recruiting teachers and employees. Without the UGC permission, the activities of the departments will be illegal.
Dr Dil Afroza Begum, a UGC member, told The Business Standard that the former vice-chancellor opened the department by demonstrating his autocratic behaviour. But the UGC did not give any approval to it and will not issue any permission in this regard.
"It [operation of the department] is definitely a crime. The university administration is responsible for the losses students will have to incur. The UGC will not tolerate such immoral and illegal activities," she added.
"The department has no teachers, no chairman and in fact nothing. It is just a mockery with the higher education. The students' quality is also now questionable," said the UGC member.
Aftabuzzaman, a third-year student of the department, told The Business Standard that they would not withdraw their agitation before getting assurance of approval of their department.
"We have been demonstrating since Thursday, and students from many other departments joined us on Sunday," he said.
When contacted, former vice-chancellor Professor Nasir Uddin said he tried to get the UGC approval for the department but the UGC rejected him for unknown reasons.
Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Md Shahjahan said he does not know why the former vice-chancellor enrolled the students without appointing any teachers.
When asked who is signing the academic and other documents of the department, he said, "Now, I am signing the documents. The former vice-chancellor signed the documents during his tenure."