UGC finds admission tests 'questionable'

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has termed the quality of written tests for admission to first year Honours courses 'questionable' and 'expensive' and recommended bringing about several constructive modifications in the tests.

It also thinks that the admission process in the private universities must be more transparent and on the basis of merit and relevant rules.

UGC in its annual report for 2010 made as many as 35 observations and recommendations. Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid placed the report in parliament on Monday night.

"Currently, the admission test for first year Honours courses in the country's higher educational institutions is very much expensive and the quality of the admission tests is also questionable."

Pointing out that a student has to sit for 6-10 admission tests in the present system, it said that coaching centre-based education was chipping away at the edifice of the education system and destroying merit and growth of intelligence and creativity of students.

UGC also expressed its concern over the students, who go abroad for higher education, but do not return after completing the end of their studies. "As a result, the nation is being deprived of their services and innovative researches at MPhil and PhD levels are also being hampered," it said.

The commission also raised questions about the education quality of graduates from a number of private universities.

The report said it was essential to hold regular meetings after forming syndicates in private universities, and to observe intensely whether the academic and administrative activities were are being held as per the Private University Act.

"There are differences on admission and tuition fees, teachers' salaries and allowances and other issues in the private universities since most of them have no specific guideline on their earnings and expenditure."

It said that the budgetary allotment in the research sector of the universities was needed to accelerate research activities and upgrade it to world standards.

Stating that prolonged session jams were hampering academic activities and career of students in some of the public universities, the report said that both students and guardians were facing financial troubles due to this. "On the other hand, it's causing massive abuse of public resources."

The report said that academic and administrative activities in the public universities were being hampered due to the influence of student politics and other reasons.

Public university teachers taking up part-time teaching in private universities and consultancy job in organisations was also hampering academic activities in the public universities, the UGC report said.

"It is essential to formulate a policy in this regard," it observed.

The report also recommended forming expert panels to recruit teachers through transparent examinations and class demonstration system and by according priority to merit, competence and skilfulness.

It said that a total of 58,170 students got admitted in 29 public universities, excepting the National University and the Open University, against their capacity of 56,192 seats in 2010, though 51,037 seats lay vacant in the National University.

In 2010, the number of students in 31 public universities, including the National University and the Open University, and their subsidiary colleges and madrasas was about 1.74 million while it was 220,752 in 51 private universities.

The proportion of male and female students in the public universities was 1.5:1.

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