In an unprecedented move, the government has taken an initiative to turn a private college in Kishoreganj into a public university.
Hazi Asmat College at Bhairab of the district has been selected for developing it into a university to ‘make easy access of the students in the haor region to higher studies.’
The college is popular for HSC courses. It is also imparting education under honours courses in seven subjects.
Sources concerned said the education ministry has taken the move to turn Hazi Asmat College into a university as per the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
On June 12, the ministry in a letter signed by deputy secretary of the ministry Jinnat Rehana asked University Grants Commission (UGC) to make a draft law in this regard.
The UGC has already formed a five-member committee, headed by its member Prof Shah Nowaz Ali, to prepare the draft, the sources said.
UGC additional director (public university division) Kamal Hossain, also a member of the committee, told the daily sun that they are working on the matter.The government will start next steps of work soon after the law is passed in Parliament, sources said.
The authorities of the college strongly opposed the government initiative for making their institution into a public university, but local people welcomed it.
When contacted, AK Mobarrak Ali, acting principal of the college, said the government has taken the move to stop their movement for nationalisation of their institution.
“Our teachers and staff will lose jobs if the college becomes a public varsity. We want nationalisation of the college as the government earlier nationalised many small colleges in Kishoreganj,” he said.
Md Shahin, former mayor of Bhairab municipality, said that local people will be happy if the government turns Hazi Asmat College into a public university.
“The government already nationalised many small colleges, including Zillur Rahman Mohila College in Bhairab. It will be a good decision if Hazi Asmat College becomes a university,” he said.
Hazi Asmat College was set up on 12.85 acres land in 1947 during British regime.
The college, which was once affiliated with Calcutta University, has also honours courses in seven subjects. Currently, the college has some 4,000 students at honours and HSC level.
College authorities said they are facing problem in running the academic activities due to shortage of teachers and employees.
The college is running with only 39 teachers and most of the major posts, including principal and vice-principal, have been lying vacant for years.
The government earlier turned the government-run Jagannath College and some engineering colleges into public universities.
Hazi Asmat College is going to the country’s first private college to turn into a public university.
There are 40 public universities in the country and 37 of them are now in operation.