Many teachers and students still do not have adequate freedom on campuses, though protecting their freedom is the spirit of the country’s independence, speakers at a citizens’ rally said yesterday.
A group of rights activists and lawyers were speaking at the rally on “Stand for freedom in educational institutions as human rights” at the auditorium of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro in the capital.
Law Life Culture (LLC), a rights body, organised the event, marking Martyred Intellectuals’ Day.
Presenting a keynote paper, LLC researcher Rezaur Rahman Lenin urged authorities concerned to ensure freedom of teaching, publishing results of research, expressing opinions and freedom of raising voice against irregularities in educational institutions.
Quoting the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), Lenin, also a rights activist, said the right to education is an internationally recognised human rights.
“But unfortunately intellectuals and university professors are being forcibly disappeared, beaten, arrested, and thrown into jail due to their dissenting opinion, and students are being brutally attacked when they protest any irregularity,” he alleged.
He further alleged that promotions of dissident teachers have been halted illegally, while some have been sent on forced leave or suspended for raising voices against irregularities at their respective universities.
He demanded enactment of academic freedom given in the country’s constitution, and inclusion of a special provision in different universities’ charters in this regard.
Chairing the rally, eminent jurist Dr Shahdeen Malik said he does not see an easy solution to such a crisis, as the situation is being aggravated day by day.
He, however, stressed on bringing a revolutionary change to ensure academic freedom.
Speaking there, noted photographer Shahidul Alam said many international students are now shying away from Bangladesh for higher education, due to campus violence.
Among others, Lawyer Sara Hossain and Advocate Hasnat Qayyum also spoke at the rally, conducted by Dhaka University professor Dr CR Abrar.
A number of universities have been in the headlines in recent months for the wrong reasons, due to incidents like Abrar killing in Buet, corruption allegations at Jahangirnagar University (JU), government officials’ controversial remarks on a research of DU Prof ABM Faroque and controversial activities of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khondoker Md Nasiruddin and so on.