January 13, 2004


As the literacy rate is rising in Bangladesh, there is an ever-growing demand for institutions for higher education. Each year more and more students are passing SSC (10th class) & HSC (12th Class). But there are not enough Colleges, Universities or other vocational institutes to accommodate all of them. The conventional education system up to mid nineties has been supported by massively subsidized education through a very small number of state-run institutions to a very narrow spectrum of students chosen out of fierce competition. The Govt. Institutions are supposed to be of high quality but lack of management, increasing cost and fixed budget are hindrances to maintain their quality. After the mid nineties many private universities have been established and the number is increasing each year (+ 50 as per last count).

There are controversies about the quality and motto of these private Universities. M. Omar Rahman, an ex-Harvard Professor working now in one leading private University has written an article claiming 'Private universities are springing up like tea stalls'.

He points out to the demerits of the private universities: "rampant consumerism, narrow spectrum of course offerings, and low quality of instruction". but he is also optimistic about the fact that as the public deciding factor is quality & choice of subjects and eventually only the higher quality institutions will survive.

I also think that there is nothing wrong in having more educational institutions. However we can argue that there should be proper control over them to ensure quality and other ethical obligations. As far as I know, the govt. has imposed some requirements for opening a private University like they have to have their own campus; a huge sum of money (100 million Taka) has to be shown as collateral/deposit etc. But I am in doubt whether there is proper control over curriculum. However as many such private Universities claim that they are affiliated with leading Universities in USA, Australia or UK, the curriculum is not supposed to be of a lesser quality.

As per Mr. Omars point of view: these are the advantages of Private Universities:

(i) increased choice and or access to those students who either are unable (due to increased competition) or unwilling (due to the characteristics of the institutions), to enter the public system; (ii) timely completion of degrees unhindered by session jams as in the public system; (iii) a safe and secure environment free of student violence -- a particularly attractive feature to parents; (iv) a semester system of education where one is evaluated continuously and multiple times in circumscribed courses, rather than in one anxiety provoking end of course final exam which can make or break one's career; (v) coursework in English, competence in which is increasingly recognized as the passport to jobs in the global economy; (vi) linkages or the promise of such to universities in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand which then provide an avenue for students to pursue higher studies and possibly future employment in the global market place; (vii) the promise of potentially higher quality faculty who are paid substantially more than their public peers and presumably hired on merit rather than through nepotism; (viii) better physical facilities (classrooms, laboratories, libraries, computer centers, cafeterias etc) due to the higher resource mobilization from tuition fees; and (ix) the promise of expanded research and scholarly activities funded partially through higher tuition fees.

So we should welcome such private ventures to ensure good quality education in the country, which should stop many students from wealthy families going abroad for education.

As far as the quality of the Universities is concerned, I know that in job market you cannot progress only with your degrees. Quality and your performance count everywhere. If a private University render poor quality education, then its alumni will not get good job and thus would not attract new students.


  1. education sector is such an important sector , which can take a country on word.In case of Bangladesh,beside public university ,many privet university is working on developing the education sector of Bangladesh. In other country privet versity are much reputed then public.But in our country there are some versity who are just doing business.For an example DARUL IHSAN UNIVERSITY.My room met is a student of that versity of Shyamoli ,Dhaka campus.As far i have seen that he never opened his book but he gets good result.By investigating I have found that they are allowed to cheat even thay can enter the exam hall with book, and they can open book while exam.Now do not get wrong that they are giving open book exam like BUET, cause all the duffer student study there.Now I am to say here is that why these versity are still carrying on?Why is not the govt. of Bangladesh taking any step?Or its like that the govt. dose not care about education!