Most of the private universities in the country do not have any permanent campus and running academic activities in establishments that are also housing businesses like beauty parlours, shoe outlets, restaurants, super shops, diagnostic centres and so on.
According to the government rules, a private university should operate in a permanent campus within seven years of its establishment but many private universities are violating the rules.Insiders said the government has issued repeated warnings to shift varsities to permanent campus. But most of the private universities are sharing space with business entities in rental establishments.
Authorities of the private universities are reluctant to go by the directive as they continue to operate their universities in small rented space only to maximise profits in the name of providing higher education.
Educationist Prof Siddiqur Rahman said, “Most of the private universities are running academic activities in rented space with no academic atmosphere, playground, library and other facilities.”
Prof Siddiqur, also a former director of the Institute of Education and Research of Dhaka University, said, “A university should not operate its academic activities in the same building that houses business entities. The objective of such varsities, which are operating in such a way for 15 to 16 years, is to make profits, not to impart education.”
During a recent visit, it was found that the International University of Scholars (IUS) is running activities in a rented building next to the busy road at Middle Badda in the capital.
A branch of Uttara Bank is housed in the same building of IUS while many shops, restaurants and commercial entities are located in the adjacent buildings of the noisy neighbourhood.City University’s permanent campus is located at Barulia in Savar but the university is running a campus at Panthapath area in the capital. Electronics shops were seen on the ground floor of the campus while there are many business entities including restaurants in the adjacent building.
Northern University’s Mirpur Road campus is housed in Globe Shopping Centre where basement-1 to level 5 is being used by various business entities, including a beauty parlour.
Offices of banks and newspapers are located in the same building that houses Northern University at Karwan Bazar in the capital.
The permanent campus of Northern University is located at Ashkona in the capital but the varsity illegally operates at least four campuses at Banani, Karwan Bazar, New Market on Mirpur Road and Satmasjid Road on Dhanmondi in the capital.
There are campuses of Primeasia University and Presidency University in the adjacent buildings of Banani campus of Northern University.
The permanent campus of the World University of Bangladesh located in Uttara but the university is running a campus at Dhanmondi-4, beside the noisy Mirpur Road.
An outlet of a chain super shop is located in the same building of World University which was established in 2003.
Records show that Dhaka International University (DIU) received approval in 2000 for a campus Banani in the capital. But DIU is operating another campus in Green Road.
As per the signboard, the DIU operates its Green Road campus since 1995 at Rajanigandha Complex. A restaurant is housed in the same building of the university’s Green Road campus.
The permanent campus of Prime University, established in 2002, is located at Mazar Road of Mirpur. But the varsity operates an illegal campus at 2A/1 on North East of Darus Salam Road in capital’s Mirpur area.
Visiting the Darus Salam Road campus, it is found that a massive showroom of Bata Shoes and a tea-stall is situated in the same building of Prime University’s noisy campus.
The University of Information Technology and Sciences (UITS) was established in 2003. The main campus of the university is located in Jamalpur Twin Tower on Pragati Sarani in the capital.
In addition to the university, the Jamalpur Twin Tower also houses numerous business entities including a stock brokerage house and a restaurant.
Canadian University of Bangladesh (CUB) started academic activities at AWR-NIB Tower in Banani area of the capital in January 2016. It was seen that branches of two banks —NRBC Bank and Dutch-Bangla Bank—-are situated in the second and third floors of the NIB Tower.
The rest of the 8-9 floors of the high-rise building are being used as the campus of CUB.
As per the Private university act, the sponsors of a private university have to fulfil 10 conditions to get temporally approval for a new private university. They will get a permanent certificate, which will entail a few other conditions, after seven years.
There are 104 private universities in the country. Fifty-four out of 95 operating universities have passed seven years period but only three universities got the permanent certificate. They are Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, East West University and City University.
As per the law, 54 universities those have passed seven years since their establishment were supposed to shift their activities to their own campus but only 20 universities shifted to permanent campus.
The thirty-four other universities have failed to move to their own campuses even after extension deadlines set by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for six times.
Earlier, the education minister decided to order a halt to the admission of new students at the universities those had failed to shift to their permanent campus despite getting times. But the ministry did not take any action till now.
When asked about the different types of irregularities at the private universities, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said, “We are working to curb the irregularities of the universities through strengthening UGC and increasing its monitoring system.”