UGC to limit private university seats

Udisa Islam
Published : 00:09, Nov 23, 2019 | Updated : 00:10, Nov 23, 2019

A general view of University Grants Commission office in Dhaka`s Agargaon GOOGLE MAPSThe University Grants Commission (UGC) has limited the number of seats per program in private universities, a decision termed as “illogical,” by people familiar with the matter.
On Wednesday (Nov 20), the UGC issued a notice limiting the number of seats in private universities.
The notice by UGC’s Private University Department Director Dr Md Fakhrul Islam said in regard to programs or courses where the number of students was not fixed during the time of approval, the number of seats have been fixed at 50 students for lab related courses and programs and 60 students for other programs and courses.
It added that the universities cannot extend the number of seats without the Commission's permission.
University experts said that over 1.3 million cleared the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations in 2019. According to them following UGCs order will not only drastically reduce admission possibilities but also increase the chances of teachers losing jobs.
Daffodil International University Vice Chancellor Dr Yousuf Mahbubul Islam said that the private universities have been established based on needs. “If anyone thinks they can hold the universities back through these laws, then they are actually holding the country back.”
“Around 65 percent students fight for one public university seat. The rest of the 64 are deprived of admission,” he said.
He added that the private universities were established to make higher education available to students. “How logical is it that universities won’t be allowed to admit more than 60 students despite having the capacity to do so?”
Another vice chancellor of a private university wishing to remain anonymous said, “The renowned universities usually admit around 400 students in every program. If the number is brought down to 60, where will the rest of the 340 go?”
On Wednesday (Nov 20), the UGC issued a notice limiting the number of seats in private universities.Private University Association President Sheikh Kabir Hossain told Bangla Tribune that UGC should have discussed the matter with them before taking a decision.
“Question rose because the decision was taken without discussing it with anyone related to those involved with private universities,” he said before adding that it won’t bode well for anyone if the students are deprived of admission.
Tagore University of Creative Arts Trustee Founder Mobassher Hossain says that the scientific way to determine the number of students has to be based on the number o11:42 PM 11/22/2019f teachers and how they will provide quality education to the students.
“Seats will become limited if the UGC order is to be followed. That way even if some universities have the ability to provide education they have to refrain from it,” he said.
Responding to queries on the matter, UGC Chairman Kazi Shahidullah said that the number of students are determined based on the university’s capacities.
“We follow our procedure to determine the number of students based on the facilities and classroom capacities of the university,” he said.
Avoiding a direct answer to whether universities are consulted before determining the number of students, he said that they initially set a limit to the number of students which can later be extended if a university can prove its capacity.