The Private Universities in the country mainly stress on those disciplines which have a high demand in the job market keeping pace with the growing global economic and business needs but they mostly disregard other development sectors.
The authorities of the Private Universities believe that they are solving the demand of the time. Conscious sections of the society, however, think that these universities have been established with a business motive only.
Disciplines that are given priority by most of the leading Private Universities include BBA, MBA, Computer Science, English etc.
East West University (EWU) is offering the following undergraduate programmes - BBA, English, Economics, Pharmacy, Computer Science, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Information and Communication Engineering while BRAC University is offering BBA, English, Economics, Law, Architecture, Physics, Electronics & Communication Engineering, Computer Science and Computer Science & Engineering.
When his views on the matter was sought Prof Serajul Islam Chowdhury of the Dhaka University English Department, said, "In this country Private Universities are like coaching centres. Anyone who has a large amount of money can set up a private university in his house."
University means an institution where adequate number of qualified teachers imparts education under several disciplines to brilliant students has sufficient space, institutes, research centres, libraries, laboratories and others essential facilities; Only one private university or two are providing acceptable quality education, he added.
Lets' have a flashback. The concept of founding a university outside the public sector came into being in 1992. The government then approved the "Private University Act"(PUA). Up to 1996 some 16 universities under PUA received charters for their operation. Only three more universities were established in the next four years taking the number to 19. However, the number surged to 31 in 2002, 51 in 2003 and finally 54 by 2005.
The country's businessmen and corporate giants rushed in, with borrowing money to invest and set up universities one after another.
Only one university or two are providing education of acceptable quality to the students. They offer academic programmes of international standard; their graduates are getting high profile employment.
Barring these exceptions, most of the private universities have been established with a design to earn money.
A number of them are just selling certificates to glorify their students who are already settled in life or pursuing a professional career, some are helping people to achieve one degree after another to display at the end of their names and achieve social status.
A few private universities has been established so that monied people could dump their family garbage or black sheep there and ultimately place them as executives and teachers. Some universities are cheating the students with fake faculty lists, ethereal affiliation and curriculum promising carrier growth or even with unprovable job- success stories and so on.
Vice Chancellor of North South University Hafiz G A Saddiqi said, "The mission of private universities could be to produce highly skilled manpower that can be marketed globally which in turn will transform the country into a knowledge-based society and thereby contribute to national development."
University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman M Asaduzzaman said, "Accredited university provides education of high quality, advances knowledge through faculty scholarship and produce graduates who have achieved specified learning goals."
But in our country with the political influence and sole purpose of making money these universities have sprung up over the period, he mentioned.
He also said UGC will take proper steps about these issues, but without the all-out effort form people of all walks of life it is impossible for the commission to tackle these issues.