Vice-chancellors of 14 public universities under scanner for irregularities and corruption
Prof Khondoker Nasiruddin, vice-chancellor of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU), on September 7 suspended six students over Facebook posts.
Since then the VC has come under huge criticism on social media, and has faced massive protests which spread to most public universities across the country.
He allegedly hired goons from outside campus to launch an attack on agitating students that left at least 50 students injured on September 20.
The education ministry has directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to investigate the allegation.
The VC could not be reached on his phone for comment.
Six students on social media questioned the sincerity of the university in dealing with various matters.
Prof Nasiruddin is not the only VC to face allegations. The education ministry and the UGC have received allegations against some other vice-chancellors of public universities as well.
The higher education regulatory authority has already opened a probe into the allegations against 14 vice-chancellors.
"We will report our findings to the education ministry, which will definitely take action against 'rogue' vice-chancellors," said UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah.
"It is a very important post. Merit and skill, not politics, should be the key criteria for the appointment of a vice-chancellor," he told The Business Standard.
Jahangirnagar University (JU) VC Prof Farzana Islam has also come under criticism for alleged involvement in corruption. A section of students and teachers has been staging demonstrations demanding her resignation.
The VC reportedly paid Tk1.6 crore to the university unit of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), student front of the ruling Awami League, from an ongoing development project of the university.
She however refuted the allegation as "totally false".
Dhaka University VC Prof Akhtaruzzaman got involved in controversy over the alleged enrolment of 14 students to the evening Master of Business Administration programme without an admission test. That paved the way for these students to become DU Central Students Union (DUCSU) leaders.
Written allegations were filed at the education ministry and the UGC over this issue.
When contacted, the VC said, "We have a committee to investigate the alleged illegal enrolment of 34 BCL leaders to the evening programme ahead of the DUCSU elections. This is not a matter for the UGC."
Prof Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah, the vice-chancellor of Begum Rokeya University in Rangpur, allegedly does not stay on campus. On the rare occasions that he does go there, he stays at his official residence and mostly runs his office from there.
He is also allegedly involved in irregularities in the appointment of teachers, officials and employees.
University rules stipulate that a VC must stay on campus to oversee and take any decisions in the interest of the university.
A teacher of the university wishing anonymity told The Business Standard that the VC and the registrar live in Dhaka, and come to the university whenever they wish.
"A university cannot run this way," he observed.
The teachers' association and the university unit of Bangabandhu Parishad are planning to file an allegation about various irregularities with the ministry this week, said some teachers.
The VC was not available for comments on phone.
The UGC has found evidence of irregularities against Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University VC Prof Kamaluddin Ahmed in the appointment and promotion of teachers.
A UGC investigation is underway against the vice-chancellor of Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University, Prof Md Alauddin.
His continuous absence from campus, and taking money for appointments and promotions are among the allegations.
The UGC is also investigating similar allegations against the VC of Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Professor Mostafizur Rahman.
Prof M Ahsan Ullah, VC of Islamic Arabic University; Prof Md Matiar Rahman Hawlader, of Sylhet Agriculture University and Prof Md Abul Kashem of Hazi Danesh Science and Technology University are also facing various corruption allegations.
Others facing similar allegations include Prof M Wahiduzzman, former VC of Noakhali Science and Technology University; Prof Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury, former VC of Chittagong University; Prof SM Imamul Haque, former VC of Barishal University; and Prof Md Abdus Sattar, former VC of Jashore Science and Technology University.
Prof AK Azad Chowdhury, former Dhaka University VC who also served as the UGC chairman, was surprise to see that such allegations have been made against some vice-chancellors.
"I could not believe that a VC can be involved in any immoral activity. But I have to believe it now. It is a very shameful matter for the country's teaching profession and for the higher education sector."
He urged the government to appoint skilled, honest and qualified teachers as VCs at different universities.
Educationist Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam said the vice-chancellors are busy with less important activities at the universities.
"They are busy with appointing teachers and promoting them. But the quality of research is poor. That is why the researches we produce fail to meet international standards," he said.
He requested the VCs to concentrate on research and on other activities which will help the universities reach world standard.
Senior Education Secretary Md Sohrab Hossain said, "We are disappointed by the activities of some vice-chancellors. The ministry will take action if the allegations of irregularities are found to be true."