Is student politics acceptable in private universities?

Is student politics acceptable in private universities?
Is student politics acceptable in private universities?

The incident of formation and inauguration of private university branch of Chhatra League on September 3 has been reported in various newspapers today (07.09.2022). In the meantime, an emergency meeting of the private university association was also held last Monday. The effects of these will come to the fore soon.

According to media reports on September 4, Bangladesh Chhatra League held a conference on September 3 with Awami League leaders and activists, especially the general secretary of the organization, Obaidul Quader, as the chief guest in a phase of building a joint structure of their committees in private universities.

Other invited guests in the conference were the Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation. Atiqul Islam and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Bangladesh Awami League Central Office Secretary Barrister Biplab Barua. Chhatra League president and general secretary Al Nahian Khan Joy and writer Bhattacharya respectively have given their support and blessings.

The leaders of the newly formed Bangladesh Chhatra League combined private universities are not well known, even the campaign cannot be fully accepted as their branches have been formed in every private university. That has been echoed in media reporting.

There are some legal and procedural barriers to branching out of private university student organizations. These words were said by some members of the Executive Committee of Bangladesh Private University. In their opinion, honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may have been aware of these issues so she did not give much encouragement to the BCL committee formation initiative taken in the past. He is cautious about student politics in general. Because just a few days ago, he said, “Altu Faltud” cannot be taken into the BCL to increase the group.

Times have changed, Shibirs, Chhatra Dal and Left wing student organizations in private universities have not formed their committees but at least continue to operate outside the campus.

The government party and their student body Chhatra League should keep an eye on the matter. Perhaps they made such a concerted effort to control the environment. They have taken this step since long ago. They think militancy is being encouraged because there is no healthy student politics.

The number of injured and killed due to student politics on the campus has come to the attention of many. Also noticed is the slanted opinion of the guardian. Students of private universities are not indifferent to this, but concerned. They raised questions, entrepreneurs also raised questions.

One question is, if another organization after Chhatra League goes to run such student politics, then what will the authorities do? Several institutions have said they are neutral on such behavior, but are opposed to it continuing on campus or using the university’s logo. I think, in many private universities, there is a rule or practice of banning student politics. The comments of the members of parliament or ministers of the government party who are entrepreneurs of private universities, however, were not received.

Entrepreneurs say they have taken to the streets to stop such attempts in the past, which is not desirable at all. The BRAC University has also issued a notice citing a clause in its constitution, which prohibits any such activity without permission. East West University has announced that they will not allow student politics on their campus.

Even Daffodil and American International University have issued notices citing their own clauses in agreement. Apart from the mentioned universities, other private universities are openly or silently giving such opinion.

The private university’s indirect response to student politics is plausible. According to them, compliance with Section 6(10) of the Act will be impossible if confrontational student politics prevails. Moreover, there is no opportunity for student politics in the rules and regulations of these universities.

Student politics is virtually banned in trust-run universities. Students are admitted by signing these terms and conditions, accompanied by the counter signature of their parents. They have unlimited opportunities to engage in socio-cultural and co-curricular and extra-curricular activities apart from politics. Various committees and sub-committees are formed with the prior approval of the authorities and they are certainly getting opportunities for leadership development. Each university has class representatives or monitors, who are nominated by the Vice-Chancellor based on the results of each semester and act as a bridge between the teacher and students. Scholarships given to encourage them are also manipulated.

The opinion of the founders and guardians about student politics seems to be one-sided. Students are of the same mind, so a quick decision on the matter is desirable.

What is known from the association of private universities is that they consider the observation of the Minister of Education to be correct and they are giving importance to the Private University Act and each university’s own law. They think that private universities have been running according to their policies, discipline and rules since their inception. World-class course-curriculum, semester-based practical modern teaching method, session congestion, political conflict and partisanship free as a private higher education institution.

The universities have gained wide trust and reputation among students and parents in the country and abroad. In these universities, various departments and subject-based student clubs regularly conduct activities under co-educational and extra-curricular programs to develop multifaceted talents and acquire leadership qualities of students. Under the management of these clubs, various events, seminars, symposiums, workshops, sports, cultural practices, mind and body building are organized regularly by the students and organized inter-university and internationally with the participation of various universities.

Private universities do not discourage students’ political awareness and involvement. However, whether party political activities will continue inside the university campus is determined by the rules of the university. Participation in off-campus positive politics is at the sole discretion of students and their parents.

They further believe that the private universities will take appropriate decisions in order to maintain a suitable learning environment for the students according to their policies, discipline and rules and provide the necessary guidance to the students accordingly.

Professor Dr. Abdul Mannan Chowdhury: Freedom fighter and educationist

The article is in Bengali

Tags: student politics acceptable private universities

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