Problems and possibilities
National University, Bangladesh is a parent university of Bangladesh that was established by a 1992 Act of Parliament as an affiliating University of the country to impart graduate and post-graduate level education to the students through its affiliated colleges and professional institutions throughout the country.
It is the 2nd largest university in the world according to enrolment. It is a postgraduate teaching and research university. It is state-run and public. The university has a school and a centre. It has established institutes that provide courses leading to M.Phil. and Ph.D degrees.
The Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences (IHS) was introduced in 1997 to offer two-year M.Phil. following modern American credit hour and semester system including course work, two-month internship and thesis guided by supervisor. The M.Phil. is an interdisciplinary degree which is intensive enough to help the students pursue Ph.D. courses. The course is open to faculty members who are employed at universities and colleges.
Very few of the teachers teaching at honours and masters level have higher training. The training programme of the university is designed to augment the knowledge of the college teachers, enhance their skill in teaching and get them an exposure to higher ideas. Eminent educationists and scholars of the country are associated with the academic programmes.
Apart from the units providing campus teaching at Board Bazar, Gazipur, the university has about 1,688 component/affiliated colleges. These colleges under its academic control cater for courses leading to Pass, Honours and Master's degrees. It provides the curricula and syllabi, arranges admission test, gives guidelines for admission, arranges inspection, holds examination, publishes results, and awards certificates.
The National University of Bangladesh is now the fifth largest university in the world after its 17-year history by its number of registered students at affiliated colleges. It is also one of the largest universities in the world by number of affiliated colleges and number of expanding subjects and courses.
The above-mentioned description delineates the institution's many-sided roles in Bangladesh's education sector. However, the university has been unable to provide with quality education for years. Though the profile of the university mentions it is a research university, in reality, no quality research is ever produced from the university. In this regard, researcher Masum Billah's comments can be added here.
He, in an article published in daily the independent, mentioned: "National University established itself as a certificate giving university. How far it is reasonable for NU to look after more than two thousand colleges remains a question. The quality of NU education has been a matter of question for years, so the educationists have opined whether the colleges could be brought under the public universities again.
Their expectation is it would gradually lead the colleges to disseminating quality education." The comment indicates the university is lagging behind in terms of encouraging students to do research and providing with quality education at tertiary level.
We strongly believe that the university has many possibilities to flourish but it needs an efficient, honest and hard-working administrative body to avail those possibilities. Indeed, we see National Universities, in different countries worldwide, are the best institutions in terms of providing with quality education and good learning ambience for research. And hope that Bangladesh's National University would be able to do so in future.
The writer is a free-lancer