The authorities of private universities have to pay a Tk 1-3 crore illegally to quarters in the Ministry of Education and the University Grants Commission (UGC) for getting the approval to set up and operate a university, according to a study by the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).
“Irregularities and corruption have marked a rise in private universities for lack of transparency, accountability and monitoring,” the study said adding that a triangle of ‘corruption consensus’ is emerged between the private universities and controlling authorities – the Education Ministry and the UGC.
The study report, titled ‘Private University: Governance Challenges and Way Forward’, also showed that the authorities have to pay a bribe of Tk 50,000 to Tk 2 lakh to get the approval to appoint vice chancellor, pro-vice chancellor or treasure of the universities.
TIB director (research and policy) Mohammad Rafique Hassan and deputy programme manager Neena Shamsun Nahar jointly unveiled the findings of the study at a press conference arranged at BRAC Center Inn in the capital on Monday.
TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman and its deputy executive director Dr Sumaiya Khair were present at the press conference.
The TIB in its report also claimed that many private universities are providing fake certificates to students, bagging about Tk 50,000 to Tk 3 lakh each certificate.
As the private university is not mentioned as a non-profitable organisation in the law, the entrepreneurs are running private universities as a means of making profit despite a service-oriented organisation, it added.
The report also criticised the government for the formulation of a new rule that allowed foreign universities, branch campuses or study centres to operate academic activities in the country,
The country’s private universities will face unequal competition, more irregularities and graft challenges, and ‘certificate trade’ will go up due to the policy the government announces recently, said the study.
Addressing the press conference, Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the entrepreneurs of the private universities are looking their universities as an institution of making money, which is ‘a matter of concern for us’.
“If the trend continues, education will be a commercial product. But we must stop it,” he added.
At present, there are 79 private universities in the country. The TIB conducted the quantitative research on 22 private universities located in the capital, Chittagong and Sylhet from June, 2012, to May, 2014.
The study finds that about 30 percent entrepreneurs of the universities are businessmen followed by 22 percent educationists, 9 percent politicians, 7 percent physicians, 6 percent retired government officials, 6 percent businessmen-cum politicians and 4 percent NGO executives.
It reveals that about 61 percent of university students were studying in private universities in 2012 while the ratio was only 47 percent in 2006.
However, the students of National University were not counted in the research.
The TIB put forward a 16-point recommendation at the press conference to avert the existing irregularities in private universities.
The recommendations include amendment of Private University Act 2010, establishing an Accreditation Council, strengthening the UGC’s monitoring system and imposing conditions on foreign universities that are willing to open branches in the country.
Source: UNB Connect