Not just one, but three teachers of the University of Dhaka have been found guilty of plagiarism in their thesis papers and the university syndicate has penalised them with demotion. Quite an achievement indeed for the trio on the centenary of the once Oxford-of-the-East-famed highest seat of learning!
The world of knowledge flourishes when it is left alone to be an exclusive preserve of scholars. Unfortunately, the idyllic garden of erudition has been infiltrated by too many rogue teachers. They make screaming headlines, courtesy of various acts of mischief they commit from time to time. The list is long but some of the common offences are nepotism, graft, misappropriation of fund and even sexual misdemeanour.
A recent University Grants Commission (UGC) probe found the vice-chancellor of Rajshahi University and some of the senior officials there guilty of recruitment of unqualified family members to teaching positions. As many as 30 such candidates were appointed on tampering with the university recruitment policy. The appointed teachers did not even qualify for applying to the position; so the vice-chancellor relaxed the criteria and completed the recruitment process.
Now meet the larger than life (!) vice-chancellor of the Begum Rokeya University in Rangpur. His gracious presence at the varsity campus is so sought-after and therefore rare that students and even teachers have jointly been demonstrating long for his stay there but without success. Recently students and teachers confined the pro-VC, demanding that he acted promptly to bring the VC to the campus. On January 15, a Friday, the VC granted his august presence for about two hours but before he had been gheraoed enough, he left the campus somehow.
There are other VCs, if not of the similar ilk, who are alleged to have done injustice on other counts to their elevated positions. When such people are at the helm of affairs and still they can go about their autocratic way of life without being accountable to their irregularities and offences, what can be expected of their protégées? If the favoured ones are unqualified like the daughter and son-in-law of the VC of RU, it is only natural that they have learnt the lesson of chicanery from their patrons right at the beginning of their career if not all through their student life.
These few cases have come to light; there may be many more that are yet to be explored. When politics vitiates recruitment of teachers or evaluation of examination scripts, academic scholarship may be anything but at its highest. The rare breed of teachers is likely to become extinct in the near future if the best talent and qualification are sacrificed at the altar of political or other type of nepotism.
How disgraceful it is for a teacher to get demoted! How do they confront students in classes? When VCs set the tone of a compromise on their ethics and high moral standard, the education regime get vitiated in its entirety. In that low profile of an academic environment, plagiarism is tempered with some kind of leniency and things fall apart and further down. University's autonomy does not grant anyone to make a mockery of rules, regulations and moral principles. After all, it is public money that acts as the fuel of the varsity engine. Public money is allocated on the trust that it will be used most judiciously. Why universities are falling behind in world ranking is explained by the abuse of power and funds allocated for running those. Let there be a review of the academic activities for overcoming the fallibilities and starting a fresh journey for attainment of excellence in higher education.