The business faculty of the Dhaka University (DU) has been running 40 evening batches for students, although the academic council allowed it for only five batches 19 years ago.
The situation relating to enrolling students for evening courses reached such an extent that some departments like the Information Science and Library Management did not bother to take any admission tests. Occasionally, they took tests, but in name only.
In the face of widespread criticism from different quarters, in February last year, the DU authorities formed a committee to evaluate the "legitimacy" of evening courses.
On February 8 this year, the committee recommended that the departments stop enrolling students under these courses until a guideline is formulated.
Under this circumstance, DU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Akhtaruzzaman has called an academic council meeting on Monday. The main agenda of the meeting is to decide on the evening courses as per the recommendations made by the committee.
Professor Akhtaruzzaman told The Business Standard that they would reach a decision after discussing it in the academic council's meeting.
"We will not take any decision that tarnishes the university's image. I believe that all the professors who will take part in the meeting will give their opinions considering the better future of the university," the VC said.
Meanwhile, a deans' committee meeting was held with the VC in the chair after getting the evaluation committee's report. All but the business faculty dean agreed to formulate a policy for the evening courses.
Professor Dr ASM Maksud Kamal, dean of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Faculty, said the committee observed that evening courses have been running randomly. The university authorities have no central control over those. There are many complaints about their standards as well.
"We emphasised implementing the evaluation committee's recommendations. All the deans except one agreed not to enrol any new students until a policy for the evening courses is formulated," he said.
"We will discuss about the importance of the evening courses in Monday's meeting. We will also discuss forming a central monitoring committee to oversee the activities of the courses.
Maybe, the academic council members also think so," Prof Kamal added.
"The present students of the evening courses will not face any problems even if the university halts new enrolment," he said.
Last year, 1,250 out of 3,660 students got admitted to the nine departments of the Faculty of Business Studies.
The teachers of the business faculty are lobbying hard for enrolling new students into the evening courses. They also held several meetings last week, calling for unity to raise voice against any possible move to shut down evening courses.
A teacher of the faculty, wishing anonymity, told The Business Standard that the teachers earn a lot from the courses. That is why all of them want continuation of the programmes.
Meanwhile, pro-BNP teachers held a meeting on February 17 and pro-Awami League teachers held meetings on February 18 and 20.
Business faculty Dean Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam said they were offering the courses considering the demand of professionals. Continuation of the courses should not be stopped until the guidelines are formulated.
Currently, 10 out of 12 institutions and 36 out of 84 departments at the university offer dozens of evening postgraduate, certificate, diploma and other professional courses, alongside regular courses.
According to university sources, a total of 3,660 students take admission every year in the evening courses, with each student paying around Tk2 lakh to complete a course.