Universities faced with 2 simultaneous academic sessions

Strong points:

  • Universities face the dilemma of running two academic sessions simultaneously after the HSC results were released on Sunday, as most public universities have yet to start classes for the 2020-21 session.
  • Some universities haven’t even been able to complete the admissions process yet
  • Covid has delayed the current academic session which usually starts between December and January
  • The University Grants Commission will sit with the Vice-Chancellors to decide how to resolve the dilemma
  • Educators said it would be impossible to run two batches simultaneously, but universities must find a way out

Universities across the country are set to face the dilemma of running two academic sessions simultaneously after Sunday, when the results of Higher Secondary School (HSC) will be announced, as most public universities have not yet started the courses for the 2020-21 academic session.

Some universities, including the University of Chittagong, Jagannath University and Kushtia Islamic University, could not even complete the admission process.

Due to the closure of academic activities caused by the pandemic until September 12, 2021, the academic session, which usually starts between December and January, has been delayed.

Under these circumstances, education experts are concerned about the ability of universities to hold two academic sessions simultaneously due to the shortage of teachers and halls.

“Universities were largely responsible for the slow admissions process in the last academic term. They have delayed far too long and students will suffer,” Professor Mohammad Alamgir, a member of the University Grants Commission, told The Business Standard.

He also said that the UGC would sit with the vice chancellors of the universities and decide how to resolve the dilemma of carrying out the academic activities of two academic sessions.

The Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) started the first year courses of the 2020-21 academic session from January 22 this year. The National University also started classes late last year.

The University of Dhaka and Rajshahi University have already set up the routine to start classes for the 2020-21 academic session from February 22.

Professor Siddiqur Rahman, former director of the Institute of Education and Research at Dhaka University, told The Business Standard that it will be impossible to run two batches at the same time. But universities must find ways to resolve the crisis.

“Students taking admissions for the 2020-21 academic session have lost more than a year. New HSC students have also lost almost eight months. Thus, the government as well as UGC can take initiatives to avoid further loss of school time,” he said.

Professor Munaz Ahmed Noor, Vice Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, Bangladesh (BDU) and also the head of the Uniform Admission Test Technical Committee said that they learned that the new admission process will be more efficient.

As many as 1.4 million students have taken the HSC and its equivalent exams across the country. About 80-90% of students are expected to pass the exams.

Professor Emeritus of the University of Brac, Dr Manzoor Ahmed, told The Business Standard that they have asked the government to prepare a long-term plan to recover learning losses and bring back academic discipline.

“There is no problem in private universities because they have already completed one or two semesters. But public universities have taken a long time to complete the admission process. It is clearly a lack of planning”, did he declare.

Shayla Patwari, a guardian, said she could not afford to admit her son, who she expects to die on Sunday at a private university. And to get him admitted to any public university, his son has to wait another six months.

“A country’s education sector cannot improve in this way. It has to improve,” she said.

According to the Uniform Admissions Testing Committee, the “GST” (General, Science, and Technology) test was taken for 20 public universities. The test for science students was held on October 17, unit B for humanities students on October 24, and unit C for business on November 1.

According to the decision of the committee, candidates had to pay Tk 1,200 to take the tests. Each university could admit students on the basis of merit lists. A total of 3.61 lakh admission seekers participated in the tests across the country.

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