Over 200 students from history department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRTSTU) in Gopalganj are facing serious uncertainty about their academic future.
According to university sources, then BSMRSTU Vice Chancellor Prof Khondokar Naisruddin introduced the history department in 2017 under the Institute of Bangabandhu, Liberation War and Bangladesh Studies with the “verbal approval” of University Grants Commission (UGC).
Students of the department have been demanding UGC approval ever since they came to know that the department had no official approval.
Former VC Prof Khondoker Nasiruddin enrolled 100 students in the department in 2017 saying he would bring official approval for the department soon, but failed.
Another batch of students were enrolled last year.
Due to the “unofficial” nature of the department, there are no permanent teachers or employees there, or even classrooms.
Teachers of Institute of Bangabandhu Liberation War and Bangladesh Studies of the university took history department’s classes at a tin-shed building situated near the university’s central library since its inception, said students.
Sometimes due to lack of classrooms, their classes were held at the first floor of the university’s cafeteria building.
“Apart from the teacher and classroom crisis, I am very anxious about my future, as the certificate I will get from the department holds no weight without UGC approval,” said a third-year student, seeking anonymity.
“I will not be able to use this degree to get a job, so what will I do with it?” he asked. Many of his peers echoed this statement.
“We got admitted here after seeing the prospectus of this university and have been attending classes regularly. But in the middle of 2019, we came to know that this department has no approval from UGC,” said Mohammad Hasan, a freshman.
The students have since demanded that the authorities secure approval from UGC, but to no avail.
Talking to The Daily Star, the university’s acting VC Prof Md Shahjahan said they spoke with UGC in two phases and are trying to obtain official approval.
Terming the decision to introduce a department without taking approval from UGC “deception”, Md Kamal Hossain, a director of UGC, said the certificate provided to them will be invalid.
“They (students) cannot show the certificate in the job market. The VC launched the department per his own will and he (VC) is responsible for the uncertainty it has caused in students’ life,” Kamal added.
He also demanded to bring the VC to book for this.
Kamal urged the university not to enroll students this year before getting approval from UGC.
UGC Chairman Prof Professor Kazi Shahidullah said they are looking into the issue.