Home Bangladesh Public varsities become VCs’ family rehabilitation centers
Bangladesh - February 14, 2024

Public varsities become VCs’ family rehabilitation centers

Staff Correspondent : Patuakhali Science and Technology University completed the recruitment process of 58 posts including teachers and staff on December 2. Shaon Chandra Samant Tanu, son of Vice-Chancellor Professor Swadesh Chandra Samant, is one of those appointed to these posts. However, the teachers’ association of the university has raised questions about the eligibility process for this appointment. In this regard, the organization has also complained to the Ministry of Education. The University Grants Commission (UGC) is currently investigating the matter on the instructions of the Ministry of Education.
A repetition of this incident was also seen in Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. It is alleged that all those who have been appointed as Vice-Chancellors in the university so far have appointed some relative during their tenure. Last December 18, Md. Hamim Al Rashid is the younger son ofVice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Shahidur Rashid Bhuiyagot a job as a section officer in the university.
Ahana Arefin, daughter of Chadekul Arefin of Gopalganj Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman University of Science and Technology in 2022 was appointed in the civil engineering department without fulfilling the conditions of the recruitment circular, the then vice chancellor of Barisal University. After a few days, Barisal University’s Environmental Science and Disaster Management Department was appointed Farzana Mahbub daughter of Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. AQM Mahbub. In addition, the former vice-chancellor Professor Dr. Khondkar Nasiruddin relaxed the terms of appointment in the university and appointed his nephew Parvez Hussain as a lecturer in the Department of International Relations.

The government has increased the number of public universities in the country in the last few decades to increase the higher education facilities of the country. Allegations of nepotism and various irregularities in the recruitment process have been raised against the vice-chancellors of these universities for a long time. Academics complain that the country’s public universities have now become ‘employment hubs’ for relatives of vice-chancellors. As soon as the new appointment is received, the vice-chancellors are appointing close people including relatives and followers to various positions of the university. In more or less almost all public universities such allegations are raised against the vice-chancellors from time to time. The teachers and officials of the universities say that by appointing their own people including relatives, the vice-chancellors are strengthening their position in the internal politics and administration of the university. And the appointment of some as vice-chancellors is creating employment opportunities for unemployed relatives. In addition to administratively weakening the universities, academic activities are also being disrupted.
When asked about this, Education Watch Chairperson and Dhaka University School of Economics Chairman Dr. Kazi Khalikuzzaman Ahmad said, “It is very sad that in almost all the universities of our country, there are various irregularities in recruitment including nepotism. As a result of which qualified candidates are being deprived, the universities are also falling behind. To get out of this place we need to ensure adequate monitoring and those who take the recruitment test, should be honest.
Generally, each university has its own recruitment rules. If a written test is accepted for recruitment, one advantage is to know who has done well in the test. However, whether the test is written or oral, the honesty of those taking the recruitment test is very important. And monitoring is necessary to ensure this. If action is taken against those who are accused of nepotism in the monitoring, others will stay away from such activities.
After verifying the recruitment information of Patuakhali University of Science and Technology, it was found that according to the recruitment circular published on November 16, 2022, a total of 39 people including officers and employees were to be recruited in the university. However, on December 2, a total of 58 people were appointed to the Board of Proxies. Among them, six instead of three have been appointed as section officers, nine instead of six as lab attendants and 11 instead of five as office assistants. Besides, one person has been appointed even though the post of accountant in IQAC department is not approved.
The teachers and officials complained that the vice-chancellor did not take the written test to appoint his son. He even appointed a total of six people against three posts including their recommended relatives to keep influential people on his side.
The general secretary of the university’s teachers’ association, Professor Dr. Md. Asaduzzaman Mia said, ‘We want the recruitment process of the university to be transparent. When recruitment is done only through Viva, it is easier to influence. There is also an opportunity to ask questions about the matter. This is why we recommend the written test. But it was not done. Apart from this, about 19 posts have been appointed without issuing the recruitment notification, which is a complete violation of the university’s law.
It was not possible to get the statement of Vice-Chancellor Prof. Swadesh Chandra Samanth in various ways to find out about this. He was not found even when he went to the university.
University registrar Professor Dr. Santosh Kumar Basu said, ‘No written test is taken in any of our recruitments. Recruitment is done through oral test. The same has happened in this case. And we gave the recruitment notification in 2022 and after that we have several posts vacant. As recruitment with the new notification is time-consuming and due to getting qualified candidates, we have taken people only once against these posts.’
Vice-Chancellor has been appointed a section officer in the middle of last month as in Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. Md. Hamim Al Rashid is the younger son of Shahidur Rashid Bhuiya. Earlier, he appointed his elder son Asadullah Hill Kafi when he was a departmental teacher and a niece when he was vice-chancellor.
There are allegations that several former vice-chancellors of the university also appointed some of their relatives there during their tenure. According to the comments of several faculty members of the university, even in the latest recruitment, there were more qualified candidates than the vice-chancellor’s son. And in the case of the appointment of the vice-chancellor’s son, the verification rules were not followed. They joined the work on 19 December.
When asked about this, the Vice-Chancellor Shahidur Rashid Bhuiyan, said, “My son has been appointed by fulfilling all the conditions of the notification and participating in the examination as per the recruitment rules of our university. No condition has been relaxed in this regard. His results are not bad compared to others who have been appointed as Section Officers. Earlier in the case of appointment of elder son and niece also they were appointed like all other applicants by fulfilling all the conditions of the notification. I was not even the vice-chancellor then. And being the son or relative of the vice-chancellor is not a crime.
He also said, “If it was the case that I had relaxed any condition while appointing my son, there would have been a complaint.” But that didn’t happen. And I was not the chairman of the selection board through which my son was appointed. The Vice-Chancellor was the Chairman of that Board. Despite this, the reason for raising allegations of nepotism is that I am trying to make the recruitment process of this university transparent and influence-free. A lot of influence has been removed. As a result, the expectations of many are not met. That is why these allegations are being raised conspiratorially.
Emeritus Professor Sirajul Islam Chowdhury of Dhaka University sees this image of universities as the current reality. He said, “Despite development in the country, employment has not increased. Rather, it has been compressed in many places. The trend of such recruitment is increasing without increasing employment opportunities. In order to stop nepotism and irregularities in recruitment, first of all employment creation development should be done and wealth smuggling should be prevented.
There has been an incident of relaxing the conditions and appointing the relatives of the vice-chancellor. In July 2017, Khandaker Mahmood Parvez, the nephew of the then Vice-Chancellor, Khandaker Nasiruddin, joined the International Relations Department of the University as a lecturer. According to the rules of the time, first class in graduation and post graduation was mandatory to become a university teacher, but Mahmud Parvez had second class in both. Subsequently, in September 2019, an inquiry committee of the University Grants Commission recommended the removal of Khondkar Nasiruddin due to allegations of various irregularities including recruitment.
Those concerned believe that corruption and nepotism will reduce if the recruitment process is completed through independent commissions in public universities. National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam University Vice-Chancellor Professor Soumitra Shekhar Dey said, ‘Due to the cluster, our admission process has become much easier. It would have been better for us if there was such a central recruitment process for teacher recruitment as well. As the opportunities for nepotism and irregularities would have reduced, we would also have been stress free.
UGC’s 2021 annual report also made a recommendation in this regard. However, no further action was taken in this regard later. According to the recommendation of the UGC, allegations of nepotism and corruption in the appointment of teachers-officers-employees in public universities are often published in the national media. As a result, the image of higher education institutions and the government is tarnished. An ‘Independent Recruitment Commission’ can be constituted for the purpose of ensuring transparency and accountability in recruitment and recruiting qualified manpower. Apart from this, the universities can quickly formulate policies in the light of the guidelines for determining the minimum qualifications and experience for the recruitment of teachers and officers and employees of public universities prepared by the UGC.
When asked about the overall issue, the member of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Professor Dr. Md. Abu Taher said, “Such complaints about the vice-chancellors have also come to the UGC. All candidates must have equal opportunity in every recruitment. Who is related to whom, it can’t be a qualification. We recommended an independent commission to ensure transparency in recruitment in public universities. If this was done, nepotism or corruption in recruitment could be almost completely eliminated.’
He also said, “In the current recruitment process, the government rule is that the recruitment process should be completed through written and oral examination. If both the written and oral tests are conducted in the recruitment under the public universities themselves, the chances of recruitment of incompetents through nepotism will be reduced. Because in the written examination no one can give marks as per his wish and can’t give extra advantage to the preferred candidate. For this reason, we are encouraging the universities to take oral test as well as written test in any recruitment.

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