VCs found guilty of corruption must be held accountable | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 19, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 19, 2021

Editorial

VCs found guilty of corruption must be held accountable

Why hasn’t the education ministry taken action?

That no action has been taken against at least four vice-chancellors of public universities, even after allegations of corruption and irregularities against them were found to be true, is disconcerting. Over the last year and a half, the University Grants Commission had recommended taking action against the four VCs after investigating the allegations. However, the education ministry has so far ignored the UGC's recommendation and let the VCs go unpunished.

In separate probe reports submitted to the education ministry, the UGC said it found evidence of corruption in the appointment of teachers, construction of buildings on university campus, mismanagement of allocated funds, and many other irregularities against the VCs. In spite of committing these serious crimes, two of the VCs were allowed to finish out their tenure, while another's is set to end soon—only one VC had to resign early due to heavy public criticism.

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This is the type of inaction that generally leads to the recurrence of irregularities—and this case in particular, has caused irregularities at the highest echelons of education institutions to repeat, said educationists. And according to the UGC's Chairman, "It gives a wrong message and a kind of impunity" which could make other top university administrators "feel that they would also go without punishment even after committing wrongdoings."

That the authorities cannot see this most obvious connection is simply not possible. Then why haven't they taken any action against the guilty VCs? What is taking them so long? What message are they expecting to send to other university officials? And what lessons are the students witnessing this supposed to learn from it? It is because of cases like these that our public education system is fast losing its credibility, and for good reason—the inaction on part of the authorities that is allowing such corruption to repeatedly manifest itself is severely hampering the quality of education being provided at our public universities. And the damage that this is doing is going to be extremely costly.

It is high time that the authorities recognised this and took urgent action against the VCs who have already been found guilty of corruption. Kicking the can down the road and justifying their inaction using the excuse that the "process is lengthy" is not good enough. Given the timings of the UGC's probe report submissions, they have had ample time to get the ball rolling—which they should have urgently done given the seriousness of the situation.

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