A professor of the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at Dhaka University allegedly assisted an NGO official to get a scholarship at a foreign university by showing him as an employee of the department, which goes against the rules and regulations of the university.
The NGO worker named Mostak Ahmed Imran, project manager of Hill Bangladesh Foundation run by the professor in question, Shahin Islam, obtained a master's scholarship at the University of Roehampton in London in 2017 by falsely introducing himself as an "associate member" of the department.
Professor Shahin reportedly did everything for Imran on behalf of the university without permission from her department to help him get the Orphan Trust and Whitelands Play Therapy Scholarship of the University of Roehampton.
According to sources at the department, Professor Shahin on 23 June 2017 signed a deed on behalf of the department with the UK university committing to fulfil their conditions, which was totally wrong and unethical as she was not authorised to do so.
One of the conditions set by the University of Roehampton requires that "a candidate must work for three years at University of Dhaka and will not be allowed to conduct private courses."
Another condition was: "If the scholarship holder fails to complete or completes the programme but does not work at University of Dhaka for at least two years, they will be required to repay the full amount of the Orphan Trust's total expenditure of the project. If the scholarship holder completes the programme and works at the University of Dhaka for at least two years but less than three years, they will be required to repay 50% of the Orphan Trust's total expenditure on the programme."
In 2018, the Orphan Trust wrote to the chairperson of Dhaka University's Educational and Counselling Psychology Department to get some amount for Imran. The then chairperson of the department, Professor Mehtab Khanam, disclosed it to the academic council and decided to take action against Professor Shahin.
The Dhaka University Syndicate denounced and warned Professor Shahin for indulging in such immoral activities. It also said the university would not take any responsibility for Imran.
However, eventually, Imran completed his master's degree under the scholarship in 2019 and is now waiting for the approval of the DU syndicate to get recruited as a faculty member of the educational and counselling psychology department.
Imran – a former student of the department who stood 6th and 4th in his honour's and master's exams respectively – earlier took the viva voce in 2017 to become a teacher at the department but was not selected.
Professor Mehtab Khanam told The Business Standard that the whole process of getting the scholarship was wrong and unlawful.
"Professor Shahin did everything for her personal interest. She needs her favourable one and that is why she has been trying to make Imran a teacher at the department," she claimed.
Professor Dr Mahjabeen Haque, the incumbent chairperson of the department, also acknowledged that Professor Shahin did wrong as she did not take permission from the university authorities. She, however, said, "This is a resolved issue. Why has it been raised again?
She also termed the issue as a conflict between two professors of her department.
When contacted, Professor Shahin Islam declined to make any comment. Imran also declined to comment, saying only that it is an issue of the department.
DU Vice-Chancellor Professor Akhtaruzzaman told TBS that he would look into the matter.
"There is no chance to do any unethical and unlawful activities. We will take action if there are any irregularities," he added.