Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has demanded expeditious implementation of the University Grants Commission's (UGC) recommendation to take disciplinary action against vice chancellors of public universities accused of various types of corruption and irregularities.
TIB has expressed deep concern over the non-implementation of the UGC's recommendation to take disciplinary action against the accused vice chancellors.
In a statement to the media on Tuesday, the organisation feared that the news of the Ministry of Education's reluctance to implement the UGC's specific recommendations indicates a collaborated corruption and irregularities, and reflects a lack of political goodwill, accountability and a culture of impunity in ensuring good governance.
TIB believes that such a situation has brought the country's top educational institutions to the brink of collapse, which will have far-reaching negative effects on the country's higher education and national life.
TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman has termed the recent allegations of irregularities and corruption against the vice-chancellors of various public universities as "very disappointing and suicidal".
"A class of opportunistic party loyalists – the so-called teachers – have turned universities into the focal point of political interests to realise the party's interests whereas a university should focus on teaching, research and learning," he added.
Allegations that, in most cases, political identities and affiliations, rather than educational qualifications, are considered for recruitment, cannot be directly ruled out, he said.
He further said that it seems that public universities authorities appoint people for the post of vice chancellor and higher administrative positions who aim at implementing the agendas of the ruling party and ensure the facilities of party leaders and workers, not the environment of higher education.
Recently, a UGC member has said that if the accused vice chancellors had been brought to justice as per the recommendation of the inquiry committee and exemplary punishment had been ensured, other vice chancellors would not have dared to be involved in irregularities and corruption in the future.
Agreeing with the UGC member, the TIB executive director said, "In the absence of accountability and punishment, some of the vice chancellors continue to set a disgusting example of arbitrariness without heeding any rules and regulations. We are becoming aware of the ever-new forms of corruption in universities, and none seems to have a problem with that! It seems there is no accountability of those concerned at all! This situation must be overcome urgently."
Despite 25 and up to 45 allegations of irregularities and corruption against some vice chancellors, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has failed to play any role, which is disappointing.
The Deputy Minister of Education has said that actions would be taken for the allegations and send financial corruption allegations to the ACC.
TIB expects that ensuring exemplary punishment would be ensured regardless of the person's social status, political identity and without succumbing to any kind of pressure. In this case, there is no alternative to the political goodwill of the government and the ruling party.