IT is disconcerting news that about 200 teachers of Dhaka University (DU) left their students sitting in the classrooms for hours as they scrambled for paying compliments to the newly elected Pro-Vice Chancellor and Treasurer in the Registrar building on Saturday. Teachers queued up with flower bouquets to congratulate the two senior officials who took office that day on being appointed by the new government. The angst of the students can be well understood since many of them had come from peripheral townships to attend classes. They are reported to have complained aloud that no notice was served earlier about teachers having to attend such an 'unofficial' programme of greeting. Indeed it was a glaring act of irresponsibility on the part of the teachers of the prime educational institution of the country which must adhere to a strict routine to break out of the sessions jam cycle. The teachers could have assembled after class hours to go and congratulate the newly appointed colleagues.
The incident on Saturday at DU clearly reflected the unhealthy culture of sycophancy that prevails in the university no less than it does elsewhere. We cannot but endorse the view of a senior teacher when he said that such conduct was 'morally unacceptable.' It is common understanding that teachers and officials of DU are expected to set examples of dutifulness, integrity, professionalism, commitment and non-partisanship, but, unfortunately, on many occasions they have failed to live up to such principles that make one an ideal teacher. The political divide among fellow teachers has intensified to a rather alarming level forcing professionalism to the back seat. We have noted with concern that in the past, appointments and promotions of teachers on DU campus were given on political consideration, thereby depriving meritorious candidates of their rightful place. The partisan teachers are also known to cast their ignoble shadow on examination papers and result sheets to promote students belonging to certain party background. We are aware that investigations are going on at this moment to unearth leaking of question papers and other irregularities in a number of departments.
We hope the new administration and academic council of DU under the leadership of the new Vice Chancellor will ensure healthy pursuit of academic activities on the campus and thereby uphold the good name of Dhaka University. Why have we to tell the teachers, the most respected segment in society, that their foremost duty is to their students? They cannot be oblivious of the fact that their personal examples help shape the personalities of students who will be future leaders of the country.