- Universities to face the dilemma of handling two academic sessions concurrently after HSC results is published on Sunday as most public universities are yet to start classes for 2020-21 session
- Some universities could not even complete the admission process yet
- Covid delayed the current academic session which usually begins between December and January
- University Grant Commission will sit with vice chancellors to decide on how to solve the dilemma
- Educationists said it would be impossible to run two batches simultaneously but universities must find a way out
Universities of the country are set to face the dilemma of handling two academic sessions concurrently after Sunday, when the Higher Secondary School (HSC) results will be announced as most public universities are yet to start classes for the 2020-21 academic session.
Some universities including Chittagong University, Jagannath University and Islamic University in Kushtia could not even complete the admission process.
Due to the pandemic-led closure of academic activities till 12 September 2021, the academic session, which usually begins between December and January, was delayed.
Under the circumstances, the education experts are concerned about the universities' capability to simultaneously run two academic sessions because of teacher shortage and also rooms.
"The universities were largely responsible for the slow admission process in the last academic session. They delayed way too much and the students will suffer because of this," Professor Mohammad Alamgir, member of the University Grants Commission, told The Business Standard.
He also said that the UGC will sit with the vice chancellors of the universities and decide on how to solve the dilemma of conducting the academic activities of two academic sessions.
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) has started first year classes of 2020-21 academic session from January 22 this year. National University also started classes by the end of last year.
Dhaka University, and Rajshahi University have already set up the routine to start the classes for the 2020-21 academic session from 22 February.
Professor Siddiqur Rahman, former director of Institute of Education and Research at Dhaka University, told The Business Standard that it will be impossible to run two batches at the same time. But the universities must find out ways to resolve the crisis.
"The students who are taking admissions for the 2020-21 academic session have lost more than one year. The new HSC passed students have also lost almost eight months. So, the government as well as the UGC can take initiative to prevent further loss of academic time," he said.
Prof Munaz Ahmed Noor, vice-chancellor, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, Bangladesh (BDU) and also convener of Technical Committee of Uniform Admission test said that they have learned the new admission process will be more efficient.
As many as 1.4 million students took part in the HSC and its equivalent examinations across the country. About 80 to 90% students are expected to pass the exams.
Professor Emeritus of Brac University DrManzoor Ahmed told The Business Standard that they have been asking the government to prepare a long term plan to recover the learning losses and bring back the academic discipline.
"There is no problem in private universities as they have already completed one or two semesters. But the public universities took a long time to complete the admission process. This is clearly a lack of planning," he said.
Shayla Patwari, a guardian, said she does not have the financial ability to admit her son, whom she expects to pass on Sunday, at any private university. And to get him admitted at any public university her son must wait for another six months.
"Education sector of a country cannot move forward in such a way. It must improve," she said.
According to the uniform admission test committee, the test "GST" (General, Science and Technology) was taken for 20 public universities. The test for science students was held on 17 October, B unit for humanities students on 24 October and C unit for business on 1 November.
As per the committee's decision, applicants had to pay Tk1,200 to take the tests. Each university could admit students based on merit lists. A total of 3.61 lakh admission-seekers took part in the tests across the country.