DU at spotlight in outgoing year, too

Dhaka University (DU) has always been the centre stage of all actions of student politics as well as tutelage, and the year 2019 was no exception.

Breaking the 28 years of deadlock, the much-awaited Dhaka University Central Students Union (Ducsu) election took place in 2019. It remained the centre of discussion over some other issues, including the removal of BCL president and secretary, and its poor show in global ranking.

Ducsu Polls

The year started with a fresh hope as DU Vice-Chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman announced the Ducsu election schedule on January 23.

The Ducsu polls, held on March 11, were marred by allegations of irregularities. All panels, except that of Bangladesh Chhatra League, boycotted the election. The ruling party student front dominated the polls but lost the posts of VP and social service affairs secretary.

Nurul Haq Nur, a quota reformist leader and little known figure until then, won the election as Ducsu VP though he called it an 'unfair' one and took over the charge.

Following the election, almost all the student wings rejected the results and repeatedly called for reelection, a demand turned down by the authorities. There had been frequent protests and clashes on the campus, and even a number of students went on a hunger-strike.

However, when the dust settled, the new Ducsu and hall committees started the journey towards another pitfall. Lack of coordination among the VP and other members of Ducsu is still a common issue on the campus.

Removal of BCL President, Secretary

Amid various controversies, Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) president Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon and general secretary Golam Rabbani were removed from their respective posts on September 14.

Both faced intense criticisms both within Awami League and out of it for their alleged involvement in extortion or tender manipulation, and finally the decision of their removal came at a meeting of Awami League Central Working Committee (ALCWC).

No 1 BCL vice-president Al Nahean Khan Joy and No 1 joint secretary Lekhak Bhattacharjee then got the charge as its acting president and acting general secretary respectively.

Akhtaruzzaman Remains as VC

Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman, who had been serving as an acting Vice-Chancellor, was appointed Vice-Chancellor by President Abdul Hamid for four more years on November 3, 2019.

Akhtaruzzaman, a professor of Islamic history and culture, was made acting VC on September 4, 2017, after the tenure of then VC AAMS Arefin Siddique expired.

Convocation and Criticism

While addressing the 52nd convocation of Dhaka University in December, President M Abdul Hamid himself came down heavily on the evening courses in public universities, saying that a section of teachers have turned the university into a business institution disrupting its overall academic environment. The UGC then issued an order to put an end to this practice.

The 52nd convocation of the Dhaka University was held on its campus with the participation of 20,796 graduates on December 9 this year. The President spoke there as the Chancellor of the university.

Attack on Nur

On December 22, at least 23 students, including Ducsu VP Nurul Haque Nur, were injured in an attack allegedly by activists of Muktijouddho Mancha on Dhaka University (DU) campus.

The attack was launched when Nur along with some activists of Bangladesh General Students' Rights Protection Council (BGSRPC) was holding a meeting at Ducsu office.

Al Mamun, general secretary of Muktijuddho Mancha and Yeasir Arafat Turjo, general secretary of DU unit of Muktijuddho Moncho were arrested on December 23 following the attack.

The attack prompted 12 student bodies to form a new alliance named United Students Against Terrorism on December 27.

The alliance, comprised of Bangladesh General Students Right Protection Council (BGSRPC), Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Bangladesh Chhatra Federation (Ganasanghati Andolon), Bangladesh Chhatra Federation (Badruddin Umar), SamajtantrikChhatra Front (BSD), SamajtantrikChhatra Front (Marxist), BiplobiChhatraMoitree, BiplobiChhatra-Juba Andolon, BrihattarParbatyaChattagramPahariChhatraParishad, NagorikChhatraOikya, SatantraJote and ChhatraGanamancha, demanded punishment of those involved in the attack.

Unimpressive Global Ranking

Dhaka University's poor position in global ranking was another reason why it was in the spotlight.

Although the university secured 135th position among Asian Universities in QS World University Rankings, it failed to make it into the top 1000 universities ofTimes Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 published on September 11 this year.

The university is falling short in core sectors like teaching quality and research activities where it is essential for an educational institution to thrive on further, experts said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh