Only 4pc go for higher education after college
After passing HSC, a little more than four percent students pursue higher education in the country as the public and private universities combined do not have adequate seats to accommodate them.
According to a report of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the percentages are 11.9 in India, 29.3 in Malaysia and 37.3 in Thailand.
With the number of HSC-qualified students increasing every year, academics have suggested increasing the number of universities and seats at the existing universities besides ensuring quality education.
UGC Chairman Prof Nazrul Islam told The Daily Star, "No doubt time has come to take steps for increasing seats at the existing universities. But we will also have to maintain quality education, otherwise the very purpose of higher education will be defeated."
Prof Nazrul suggested introducing double shifts or evening shift at the public universities and reputable private universities to meet the present crisis.
The 20-year (2006-2026) strategic plan of UGC for higher education in Bangladesh suggests that at least 28 new universities will have to be established to absorb 15 percent HSC-passed students for higher education.
Tough admission fight in the public universities now denies around two lakh students, including even those who achieved GPA 5 in both SSC and HSC, admission in subjects of their first choice because of the shortage of seats.
Around 2.5 lakh students are vying for admission this year against only 24,051 seats. Obviously, about 2.25 lakh students may have to try at the private universities or go abroad. Some may have to get engaged in professional work--or remain unemployed--ending their academic career.
The 54 private universities in the country can accommodate only 11,000 students while most private universities allegedly do not impart quality education.
Many parents and students are not eager about the private universities as tuition fees and other charges there are much higher. There are also allegations that a few private universities sell certificates of honours and master degrees in different subjects.
Under the circumstances, the caretaker government is now considering enacting a new private university act to eliminate such irregularities and ensure sound environment for higher education.
After getting proof of allegations of selling certificates, the UGC has already declared 56 branches of foreign universities illegal and banned 100 outer campuses of different private universities and 40 medical colleges.
Meanwhile, many HSC-qualified students from rich families intend to study at foreign universities, especially in the US, the UK, Canada, Malaysia, India and different European countries.
Capitalising on this, a number of fake consultancy firms have sprung up and trapped many students.
Academics, however, said they do not think that all these measures of the caretaker government will benefit the nation if seats at the good educational institutions in the country are not increased.
Public universities like those in Dhaka, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Khulna and Jahangirnagar and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) started selling admission forms from last month and are holding admission tests from the second week of this month.
Around 3.5 lakh students passed the HSC this year. Among them, 11,140 students achieved GPA-5, 80,245 got GPA-4.5, 77,386 got GPA 3.5-4.0, and 74,658 got GPA-3.0-3.5.
The rest 1.06 lakh students scored below GPA-3.0 and are not qualified for applying in the public universities except the colleges under the National University. This means 2.43 lakh students will apply for higher education in 26 public universities against 24,051 seats.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (Banbeis), besides the public universities there are 11,000 seats at 54 private universities, 4,000 seats at public and private medical colleges, 55,000 at 61 National University colleges with honours courses, 80,000 at 1,069 colleges with degree (pass) courses, and around 5,000 seats at private engineering and technical institutes.
Among the public universities, nine institutes of Dhaka University have 5,289 seats, Rajshahi University has 3,350, Jahangirnagar University has 1,283, Jagannath University has 3,000, Chittagong University has 2,400, Khulna University has 600 and Islami University has 1,220 seats.
Only students with science background can get admission to Buet and 14 government medical colleges. Only 886 seats are there in Buet's five institutes and 2,060 seats in 14 government medical colleges.