The private university bill has been drafted to ensure that the private universities will abide by the rules and regulations and maintain quality tertiary education, said Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday.
"We want the private universities to be active and effective but they have to follow some rules and regulations and meet some conditions [set by the government]. The approval of the university will be cancelled if they don't meet the conditions," he told the journalists at a press conference at the ministry.
The education ministry has sent the bill to the parliament secretariat yesterday. "I hope this will be passed in the current session," he said.
Nahid said many private universities could not meet the condition even after 10 to 12 years of their approval and the proposed act will help ensure discipline in the higher education.
He said there is a notion that the private universities have no relation with the government but it is not appropriate. He, however, said if needed, the proposed act will be amended.
Nahid observed that those who want to run the university for commercial purposes as well as ensuring their ownership might face problem if the private university bill is passed.
He urged the admission seekers and guardians not to go to the unauthorised universities.
The proposed act states that each university will prepare a structure for tuition fees consistent with socio-economic conditions and take approval from the University Grants Commission, sources at the ministry said.
It suggests formation of an accreditation council, which will evaluate the overall educational activities of private universities and raise the nation's university education to world standards, said the sources.
The bill requires that each private university has a syndicate comprising its vice chancellor, Pro-VC, treasurer, one dean, one departmental head and a member of its academic council nominated by the VC, an educationist nominated by the government, three members nominated by the board of trustees and a member nominated by the UGC, sources said.
The proposed bill also says VC would be the chairman of the syndicate, academic council and teacher appointment committee and member of board of trustees by position. It means the vice chancellor would have the authority to take all decisions regarding the university activities, sources said.
The VC will be accountable to the board of trustees for his activities as per the bill, said the sources.
One must have 20 years of teaching or administrative experience or 10 years of teaching and 10 years of administrative experience to be eligible to become a vice chancellor, they added.
Each private university will have to prepare a proper wage structure for teachers, officials and other employees and submit to UGC and the government.
The proposed bill also suggests formation of a nine-member Board of Trustees for every university and the board will nominate a member from the board as its chairman, according to the sources.
They added that there will be two members from the government and UGC in the syndicate.
Each university will have to have Tk 5 crore deposited with any scheduled bank approved by the government as Reserve Fund, said the sources.
According to the draft bill, any private university can conduct distance learning programmes or courses with the permission from the government.
The bill proposed five years imprisonment and a fine of Tk 10 lakh for any offence, they said adding that the authorities concerned will cancel temporary approval of any university if the university does not take permanent approval within the stipulated time.
One acre of land will be needed for establishing a private university under the metropolitan areas of Dhaka and Chittagong.
The cabinet on January 25 approved the proposed bill at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh, however, is protesting the proposed bill saying that if the bill is passed, it will create an impasse in the higher education sector. _ Today's Daily Star