President Abdul Hamid on Monday said commercial courses are turning public universities into business institutions disrupting the campus atmosphere.
"Thousands of graduates are being produced every year with these commercial courses. A particular class of teachers is making profits [from these courses] … and turning the universities into business institutions," he said at the 52nd convocation of Dhaka University.
President Hamid, also the Chancellor of the university, noted that there was a question about how much students are benefiting from these degrees even though a section of teachers is benefiting.
"This is disturbing the education atmosphere at the universities. Many public universities assume the character of private universities at night … This is unacceptable," he said.
Hamid noted that there are some teachers who are reluctant about taking classes of regular courses but are very serious when it comes to evening and diploma courses, and classes at private universities.
"It's because they get cash benefits from these private universities. But remember, the universities are run with taxpayers' money. So, you've to be accountable to people," the Chancellor said.
He said it is the responsibility of vice-chancellors and teachers to ensure the proper use of university funds.
"But the activities of some VCs and teachers make it seem like they've forgotten what the real task of the university is. The job of the university is not just to impart knowledge, rather, the real work is to apply the acquired knowledge," he added.
Terming research a "very important and fundamental task of higher educational institutions," Hamid said there is a lot of criticism about the quality of research. Research for promotion, or basic research, should also be taken into consideration.
"In many departments, the number of professors is now higher than the teachers of other positions. Many teachers have forgotten the identity of a teacher who got an administrative post," he said.
President Hamid also criticised the university authorities for a series of recent incidents.
He said the image of universities and the reputation of students were tarnished by some inhumane and undesirable incidents in recent times.
"Students are enrolled in university for acquiring knowledge, not to return home as corpses or expelled. These unexpected incidents could have been prevented in many cases if the authorities took the right steps in time. The university authorities cannot avoid the responsibilities completely," he said.
President Hamid hoped that the authorities will take proper action in this regard in the future.
The 52nd convocation of Dhaka University (DU) was held on its campus with the participation of 20,796 graduates.
Nobel Laureate in physics and Special University Professor Dr Takaaki Kajita, also Director of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research of Tokyo University, delivered his speech as the convocation speaker.
Extending his sincere thanks and felicitations to the Nobel Laureate for his gracious presence at the convocation, President Hamid said his presence provided a fresh impetus to the graduates and the university as well.
The President said Prof Kajita's deliberation has been a great source of inspiration for the graduates and the students.
Ninety-eight students received gold medals from the president while Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degrees were conferred upon 57 and 14 recipients respectively.
Seven DU-affiliated colleges also participated in the convocation ceremony from two venues — Dhaka College and Eden Mohila College– through videoconferencing.