Postgraduate only for deserving students

Dhaka,  Thu,  21 September 2017
Published : 30 Nov 2016, 20:47:00 | Updated : 30 Nov 2016, 20:47:06

Postgraduate only for deserving students

Limiting the postgraduate course only to brilliant students is hardly any uncommon idea. But a recommendation made by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to this effect may not be taken favourably by many in this country, though this indeed should be the norm and practice of higher education. In developed countries options for pursuance of higher studies are made as early as class IX. Crops of brilliant students are groomed for specialised higher studies and the mediocre are herded into streams where they will complete only graduation courses, not masters. Many are given option for technical and vocational education in order to build their career in such areas early. In this country, the policymakers simply turned a blind eye to this vital aspect of higher studies and went for establishing private universities randomly. No wonder quality of higher education has suffered tremendously as a result.

Now that the UGC has focused on this issue of quality education, there is every chance of a resistance to this move by different vested interest groups. Unfortunately, the UGC does not have enough power to implement many of the initiatives it takes in the interest of higher studies in the country. The fact that it had to issue a public notice informing that the certificates issued by as many as 18 private universities are invalid. Those universities run without vice-chancellors and controllers of examinations have no legal authority to issue certificates but those are doing so in defiance of the regulations that require signature of a vice-chancellor on a certificate. This is a clear indication of the irregularities resorted to by many of the private universities. Their intake of below average students for exorbitant fees only exposes the crucial area of weakness of higher studies.

The problem started brewing when secondary and higher secondary education started producing enormous numbers of GPA (grade point average) -5 holders. The assumption was that GPA-5, the highest grade point, is the measure of meritorious students. That it was a mistake did not take long to prove. The percentages of pass in the admission tests of medical colleges, Dhaka University and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) are too low to justify merit. A truly meritorious student at the higher secondary with a GPA-5 level should not fail in the admission test where the qualification mark is 48 out of 120. The truth is the percentages of pass usually hover between seven to 12.

This surely calls for recasting the education system right from the primary level up to the tertiary. The important area is to spot originality of students. Only qualified and dedicated teachers can do the job. This done, the next step would be to accommodate students of average merit in colleges where they learn practical training for career building. Below average students have to be satisfied with technical and vocational education for their livelihoods. Only the genuinely meritorious and creative students will have access to higher studies so that they can leave their imprint on their respective fields. This will definitely make redundant substandard higher seats of learning. In that case, public universities will limit their seats and have higher allocations for facilities for research, scholarship and experiment. And that indeed is the mark of the Ivy League of higher studies.   

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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