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     Volume 8 Issue 85 | September 4, 2009 |

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On Private Universities

In response to the article “Standardising Private Universities” published on 21st August, 2009 in the Star Magazine, I would like to make a few points. I myself was a student of a private university but never faced any kind of discrimination. My teachers took the classes with utmost sincerity and regularity. There was no politics. All the teachers were highly educated. After passing out, I got a job in no time and am doing well in my profession. If the students graduating from private universities do not get any job in the market then why are thousands of students taking admission in private universities?
Some people raise questions about the transparency of private universities. Do all public universities maintain transparency? I strongly condemn the comment of an educationist who said that "for its 'sexy appeal' the private universities in Bangladesh have attained popularity amongst the teenagers."
There is always room for improvement. If any positive change is brought about for the betterment of the nation or any action is taken against wrong-doing of any institution, then everyone would welcome it. But in the name of bringing change, one cannot make sweeping comments about the merit of private universities.
Pradip Das

Misquoting Wordsworth
I would like to refer to the article “Me and the Rain” by Abdus Selim, published in the Star Magazine on 21.8.09. May I suggest that both the writer and the persons in charge of editing ought to be more careful about what they produce in print. In the conclusion to his article Mr. Selim has not only misquoted William Wordsworth's lines "the sounding cataract/Haunted me like a passion", but inadvertently stated that they are from Wordsworth's poem The Prelude. The quoted lines are actually from Wordsworth's poem Tintern Abbey (Lines 76-77). I read somewhere that "a writer can survive anything but a misprint" and am truly glad that Wordsworth is not alive today.
Prof. Nafisa Jamal
Dept. of English
University of Dhaka

Cultural Assault
With the development of science and global communication it has become easier for a nation's culture to be influenced by other region, race and country. For this reason the culture of dress pattern, music, songs etc are being influenced by cultural aggression of other nations. Our country is not free from cultural aggression. Our dress pattern, music are badly affected because of the influence of foreign culture. Our dress sense is changing day by day becoming more like that of western countries. Folk songs are sung in western style. The traditional musical instruments are being replaced by western musical instruments. Today's young generation is getting unfamiliar with local culture. The influence of Hindi culture has affected our own culture. Our greeting style is also getting western day by day.
Can't we do something to save our own culture from this cultural assault?
Rashedul Hasan (Sayem).
Hospital Road, Atpara.

A Hi-Tech Toy?

The Daily Star of August 16 informs us that the Dhaka Metropolitan Police are installing an intricate network of security cameras that “will curb street crime and traffic congestion”. Could the DMP pray inform us ignorant plebeians how it will do so?
-Will it show a lady being mugged a Km away and if so, how will the police get to her before the muggers decamp with the booty? Do they have helicopters also, because it is certain they themselves will be stuck in a traffic jam? Ditto for dacoity, armed robberies, extortion (by cadres and police alike), tender snatching, drug dealings, fires etc.
-What good is it if a man stuck in gridlock is shown by cameras that there is more ahead?
-A company from Brunei has been asked to implement the system. Since when did Brunei achieve expertise in IT based traffic control?
-Was there transparency in the deal, and if so how was it ensured?
Tk 61 crore is a lot of money to spend for a bunch of policemen sitting in a control room playing computer games. Would not this handsome sum be better spent repairing the zillions of potholes and rice paddies masquerading as roads, streets, lanes and by-lanes in Dhaka?
Sikander Ahmed
Niketon, Gulshan-1, Dhaka 1212

Caretaker Government
The issue of caretaker government system has come to the fore recently after AL secretary general Syed Ashraful Islam commented that we have to reconsider the caretaker system in the light of recent incidents. I believe this is an issue related to democracy.
The caretaker government provision was first introduced in the 1991 election, in the aftermath of overthrowing of the autocratic Ershad regime. Then the chief justice Shahabuddin Ahmed assumed the role of chief of the caretaker government. The election held under that caretaker government was believed to be one of the best, fair, free and most transparent elections in our country's electoral history. The election paved the way for reintroduction of parliamentary form of democracy. The BNP formed the government then. In 1996 the main opposition party AL refused to take part in the election under the BNP regime and it demanded election under the caretaker government. Facing challenges from the political parties, the BNP government finally passed the bill on 27th March 1996 and incorporated it in the Constitution under the 13th amendment and stepped down from government. Unfortunately the CTG system failed to ensure a congenial atmosphere because after every election the losing party questions the caretaker government's actions while the victorious party terms the election as free, fair and credible.
The caretaker government is a unique system in our country. But we must keep in mind that if there is dishonesty within the political system and lack of commitment to democracy within the parties, no system can ensure a trouble-free atmosphere.
Mohammad Zonaed Emran
Dept. of Political Science
University of Dhaka

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