Students who are ready to sit for the public university admission tests continue to suffer because the uniform admission test known as “the cluster system”, proposed by the University Grand Commission (UGC), will not be introduced this year, except for the agricultural universities.
Candidates will have to run across the country to take the admission tests for around 72,000 seats in 44 public universities beginning from September 13.
As in previous years, the painful journey will cost students and their guardians a substantial amount of money, along with facing the hazards associated with travel.
Students and guardians say that it is very painful to travel long distances across the country from campus to campus for the admission tests.
Syed Redwan Ahmed is a first-year student of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST).
He shared his awful experiences of last year’s admission test with The Business Standard, saying that it was the most painful year of his life.
“I took the admission tests of Dhaka University and Jagannath University the same day. Later, I sat for the medical college tests. I had to go to Chattogram University alone as my father was ill,” he said.
“From Chattogram I had to run to Sylhet to take the SUST admission test. I felt helpless because I had no bus or train ticket. I finally managed to get there by getting a ride from a truck driver. I was under tremendous mental pressure,” he added.
Mithila Farzana, a student of Rajshahi University, said that she took the admission test at RU on October 23 last year and four days later at CU.
“The distance from Rajshahi to Chattogram is very long. It was a very exhausting journey. My parents were also with me. We faced severe transportation and accommodation problems,” she said.
Rahat Hossain, a guardian, told this correspondent that last year his daughter applied for admission to DU, JU, RU, SUST and CU. He had to face a very tough time as he accompanied his daughter to every university.
“I am a banker. It was very difficult for me to give time for my daughter’s admission test. We tried our best. Unfortunately, she failed to get admitted to any public university,” he said.
Sources at the UGC say that the uniform admission test has not been introduced this year, except at the seven agricultural universities, because of opposition from a few reputed universities.
Some universities have been opposing the cluster system because its implementation would affect the income of the universities and teachers from the sale of admission forms, invigilation and checking of answer scripts.
Under the new system, admission seekers will be enrolled at universities based on a merit list prepared from a single test.
Professor Kazi Shahidullah, Chairman of the UGC, told The Business Standard on Tuesday that consensus is needed among stakeholders to introduce the system.
“We have to make a decision with everyone involved. The vice-chancellors of different universities have already formed a separate committee. We cannot make the decision unilaterally,” he said.
Professor Dr Akhtaruzzaman, Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University, told this correspondent that they are ready to implement any decision by the government if it is rational.
This year more than 10 lakh candidates are expected to sit for public varsity admission tests as 988,172 candidates have passed the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent examinations.
According to the Education Ministry, last year a total of 3.5 lakh students applied at Dhaka University and 3.3 lakh at Jahangirnagar University.
Other universities had almost 2 lakh applicants.