The introduction of the ‘cluster system’ of tests for admission to public universities has seen little progress despite repeated instructions of the President for its early introduction to ease the sufferings of admission-seekers.
Sources in the education ministry said the committee formed on Jan 14 this year to work on the matter failed to hold even a single meeting until now.
President Abdul Hamid, also the chancellor of the universities, on November 2, 2016 instructed the education ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC) to introduce the cluster admission test system.
On February 1 this year, he asked the public universities to enrol students under cluster admission test at his meeting with a 45-member delegation of vice-chancellors of public universities at Bangabhaban.
UGC Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan told the daily sun that they are working on the system.
He, however, said the UGC alone cannot do it as there are other stakeholders and consensus among them is important in this regard.
Sources in the UGC and the education ministry said at a meeting held at the ministry on Jan 14 with education secretary Md Sohrab Hossain in the chair decided in principle to introduce the cluster system from this year.
At the meeting, a seven-member high-powered committee headed by the UGC chairman, was formed to work on the matter.
The committee was asked to make a ‘concept paper’ on the system and submit it to the education ministry by Feb 15.
“But there is little progress on it. The committee has even failed to hold any meeting,” said an official requesting anonymity.
A UGC official said the committee called a meeting but they failed to hold it as the ministry representatives could not turn up.
Another committee was also formed by ‘Bangladesh University Council’, an organisation of public universities. They held two meetings but failed to reach a decision on ‘cluster system’.
Committee convener Prof Md Harun-or-Rashid, also the vice-chancellor of National University, said, “We held two meetings but could not reach a decision. We’ll hold more meetings regarding the matter.”
After the formation of seven-member high-powered committee, it was expected that the committee would bring good news to the university admission-seekers.
But the UGC and the education ministry officials said there is hardly any hope that the cluster system of admission tests is going to be launched for the students who will pass the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations this year.
The education secretary said, “The committee, which was formed regarding the cluster system, has not submitted the probe report yet.”
“The work on introducing this new system will be started soon after getting the committee report,” he added
Another source said some public universities are showing reluctance to the plan on cluster system.
Seeking anonymity a vice-chancellor of a university said, “There is opposition to the cluster system from some major public universities as they think this system will cut their income from the admission process.”
Seven years ago, an initiative was taken to introduce the cluster system of admission tests at public universities to reduce the troubles faced by students and guardians at the time of the admission tests.
Only the country’s medical colleges have implemented this uniform system, in which the students sit just for a single test and are selected for colleges in accordance with their merits.
The same system was considered for all public universities in 2010, but little progress has been made so far in this connection, except for holding a few meetings.