The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recently framed a uniform policy for appointment and promotion of teachers in public universities. Minimum prescribed qualification (MPQ) has been fixed for the post of lecturers through this policy. But it appears to have been asymmetrical in some respects.
The UGC, led by its chairman Prof. Abdul Mannan, has been working to standardise the quality of higher education by putting in place advanced administrative and technical capacity for monitoring and supervision.
However, only a few universities are following the rules. The rest are making own rules by shunning the law enacted by parliament. The MPQ has been fixed in accordance with the UGC rules. It has proposed a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.50 (out of 4.0) for science, social science and business studies departments in both graduate and postgraduate examinations.
However, in case of Arts faculty positions, the MPQ would have to be CGPA 3.25 in any one of the exams, and there has to be a minimum CGPA of 3.0 in the other examination.
One of the debatable provisions is that there must be minimum GPA 4.50 in secondary and higher secondary examinations for all faculties. How could the UGC propose GPA 4.50 (out of 5) in both SSC and HSC exams for the post of lecturer in all faculties of the so-called general universities?
This implies, those who enrolled in the universities with minimum GPA in SSC and HSC and secured good results at higher levels would never be a teacher, because they did not get total GPA 9 in SSC and HSC exams in accordance with UGC's uniform policy.
There is no alternative to recruiting meritorious teachers for teaching at the universities. However, due to various obstacles, the country's best talents are being deprived of it. With a unified MPQ regardless of groups in public exams, humanities students will suffer most, as it is much harder to secure good results in humanities than in science or other groups. The students coming from science group and then getting enrolled in departments under the arts faculty would be more benefited. Besides, the UGC has also failed to ensure justice for those students who had passed earlier based on traditional grading system.
When MPQ in SSC and HSC for the post of lecturer in leading engineering universities is GPA 4 (out of 5), and academic results, research and publications are given priority as criteria for recruitment of lecturers, the proposed MPQ in SSC and HSC for the recruitments in general public universities does not appear logical.
Even the Dhaka University had fixed MPQ of CGPA 3.5 (out of 4) in both graduate and postgraduate examinations, and GPA of 4.25 in SSC and HSC for all departments since the tenure of former Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique.
After considering all aspects of the issue, Rajshahi University has recently ratified MPQ for the post of lecturer. It fixed three categories, viz. CGPA-3.00 for Arts faculty, CGPA-3.25 for social science, law, business faculty, and CGPA-3.50 for science faculty. On the other hand, the requirements for SSC and HSC level have been fixed as per admission requirements in the honours courses of each faculty.
Our educationists are often found to be critical about the quality of students, especially those who secure good GPA. Even a few days ago, the UGC Chairman stated that good GPA in SSC and HSC did not mean good student for higher education, especially after the question leak incidents. He also expressed his deep concern about the quality of students in higher education while speaking to BBC Bangla.
Therefore, to ensure the inclusion of best talents of the country in the teaching profession, some initiatives may be taken by the UGC. First, MPQ for SSC and HSC levels should be relaxed as per requirements of admission in faculty-wise honours courses at different universities. Moreover, MPQ for higher education should also be fixed in accordance with faculty-wise requirements. Second, academic results should be given priority in recruitment of teachers. Third, research and publications should be additional criteria in the recruitments. Fourth, technique of teaching should be accorded priority. Fifth, political considerations must be shunned.
If all the above criteria are not ensured, it would result in producing students with a surface approach to learning, rather than the desired deep approach. In this context, we expect fruitful steps from UGC and reconsideration of MPQ for teachers' recruitment in public universities.
MAT Biswas teaches history at Asian University of Bangladesh. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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