99th Anniversary of DU: Academic quality falls behind amid political influence
Bangladesh's oldest and largest university, one that is closely interconnected with the country's history, its politics and liberation -- University of Dhaka -- turns 99 today.
However, in the present day, there is a question over the quality of education at the university.
The university has slipped 200 places, from 601 bracket to 800-1000 bracket in the QS World University rankings, between 2012 and 2020.
Talking to The Daily Star, Prof Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury said, "The standard of the university has not improved much."
"Dhaka University always has to carry out two responsibilities, first one is of education and second one is of society. It performed responsibilities with the society, had various disputes with the state at different times," he explained.
"Many times the state has taken meritorious teachers for various jobs, from where they never returned to the teaching position," said Prof Serajul.
"Loyalty towards any political party is nowadays being considered in teachers' recruitment. In general, the practice of knowledge in Bangladesh is being devalued," he added.
The university currently has at least 2000 teachers but the number of research works has decreased over the years.
In 1988-1989 academic year, a total of 208 research papers were published by 188 teachers of seven departments -- Bangla, History, Economics, Marketing, Physics, Chemistry and Political Science.
After 30 years, around 251 teachers published only 60 research papers in 2016-2017 session, according to data from annual report.
Contacted, DU Pro-Vice Chancellor (administration) Prof Muhammad Samad said the academic achievements of Dhaka University in 100 years is not up to the mark.
"There should have been more academic advancement. Over time, library facilities, research apparatus etc were not improved. Also, there are some departments in the university which are not compatible with the demand of time, it needs reform. We should take initiatives to develop the standard in line with the top universities of the world," he said.
The 99th founding anniversary of DU will be marked by limited activities this year considering the Covid-19 situation.
The day's celebration will kick off by hoisting the national and university flags and releasing balloons at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury senate building premises.
Later a virtual discussion will be held in which National Professor Dr Rafiqul Islam will deliver the keynote speech.