Tamim Ahmed wants to become a police officer after completing his master's from Dhaka University. But uncertainty now clouds his road to the future as he is not even sure when he can complete his four-year bachelor's degree.
The reason: Inordinate delay in the conduct of exams by the university in the wake of the Covid pandemic, leading to an academic session jam.
"I am really worried about my career. By the time I would complete my graduation, the upper age limit for a police job could well expire. My parents are equally worried about my future. My dreams are shattered," says Tamim.
In fact, Tamim, a third-year student of Islamic History and Culture at Dhaka College, is not alone. The pandemic has clouded the career ambitions of around 2.5 lakh students of seven colleges affiliated to Dhaka University.
The university authorities, the students allege, are indifferent to their problems. So far, the students say the authorities have not taken a single step to mitigate their concerns.
A query on a Facebook group of Dhaka University-affiliated college students has revealed that their exam results haven't been released yet. The exams were held some nine months back. These students also slam the authorities for its failure to conduct remote classes.
"I am still waiting for my exam result. I can't apply for a job without a marksheet or certificate. It seems the university authorities are least bothered about our future," says Mostofa Kamal, a student of Dhaka College's botany department.
Students of Eden College pursuing economics echo similar sentiments. "We are trapped in a session jam. On the contrary, private university students have got their dues," says Taukir Ahmed. "Authorities should take concrete steps to minimise our concerns."
Salauddin Riyad of Government Titumir College has a similar story to share. "Even after seven years, I have not been able to complete my studies. This year, Covid has disrupted our academic calendar. Are the authorities listening?"
UNB has learnt that the university authorities have recently decided to start classes for new sessions without conducting previous exams to enliven academic activities. The decision was taken following a meeting with the principals of DU-affiliated colleges on 20 October.
Dhaka College principal Prof Nehal Ahmed has confirmed the development. "We will start classes for next academic year, if DU agrees.. Results of a few courses are likely to be published by next week. then they will go for online classes to lessen academic losses."
Principal of Kabi Nazrul Government College Prof Selim Ullah Khandakar, however, feels the concerns of students but says they are yet to get any instructions from Dhaka University. "We will take all necessary measures only when DU tells us."
Students of academic sessions 2015-16 and 2016-17 are the worst sufferers, being stuck in the same year for about 27 months now. Some students are even thinking of launching an indefinite agitation to press for their demands.
Already these students have held several protests in the past three months, demanding an end to the session jam. But the protests have been short lived following assurances from university authorities.
Some students are also in favour of ending the association of these seven colleges with Dhaka University. In fact, they have taken to streets several times since the affiliation of their students in 2017, following the directives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The affiliated colleges are Dhaka College, Eden Mohila College, Government Shaheed Suhrawardy College, Kabi Nazrul Government College, Begum Badrunnesa Govt. Women College, Mirpur Government Bangla College and Government Titumir College.
When contacted, DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Akhtaruzzaman admitted that the students of the affiliated colleges have been facing session jam. "But those who took admission in the 2017-18 academic year and got the DU registration will not face any such problem."