A group of university teachers yesterday said the introduction of online classes without proper planning and preparation would be "suicidal" for the universities and it may "cause discrimination".
They also demanded a monthly scholarship of Tk 3,000 for the students who have been in financial hardships due to the coronavirus and 50 percent waiver of tuition fees at all private universities.
University Teachers' Network, an association of public and private university teachers, came up with these demands at an online press conference yesterday.
Dhaka University teacher Samina Luthfa and Rajshahi University teacher Bokhtiar Ahmed jointly read the association's position paper at the programme.
Jahangirnagar University professor Anu Muhammad said the authorities were forcing the universities to introduce online education, but who would take responsibilities of the students who would remain excluded from this education.
The paper said public universities might plunge into various crises, including session jam, due to the shutdown of all universities since mid-March.
No institutions have any moral right to conduct any academic activities which may create discrimination, it said, adding that online classes would certainly widen the discrimination as all students do not have access to internet, devices and others infrastructures.
Teachers said that they were concerned that many universities are trying to introduce online education in an unplanned way as the University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked them to do so.
The UGC after a meeting with the vice-chancellors of public universities on June 25 urged the universities for the third time to ensure online education to avoid possible session jams for Covid-19 shutdown.
The teachers' network yesterday also sought a free internet package for students.
It also sought a one-time scholarship or a long-term and interest-free loan of Tk 20,000 for at least half of the students at public universities.
Departments will select the students and there should be no irregularities in disbursing the scholarships, said the position paper.
The network said jobs of private university teachers must be protected and their full salaries should be ensured.
In the beginning, online classes can be held for post-graduation students and then it can be expanded for undergraduate students, it said, adding that the ICT capacities of all public should be increased.
The network also demanded the abolition of the Digital Security Act yesterday during the conference.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science & Technology University teacher Arifuzzaman Rajib, Bangladesh Agricultural University teacher Kazir S Farid and North South University teacher Sharmee Hossain also took part in the discussion.