Admission seekers, parents welcome UGC recommendation

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended that private universities introduce a cluster admission test system, similar to the centralized entrance examination hosted by public universities, to alleviate candidate suffering.

In its 47th annual report to the government, the UGC proposed drafting guidelines to introduce a uniform test for students vying for a seat at private universities in Dhaka.

A delegation led by UGC Chairman Professor Kazi Shahidullah presented the report to President Bang Hamid in Bangabhaban on Sunday.

Cluster approval system to mitigate problems

Maria Akter, an admission seeker, said that if she cannot go to a public university, she plans to go to a private university.

She explained that it would be a waste of time and money to go to each private university and take separate placement tests.

“The cluster system will help me find a private university easily. It will save me a lot of trouble,” she said.

Admission seekers and their legal guardians welcomed the UGC recommendation.

Rabbil Bhuiyan from Rangpur, whose daughter is an admission seeker, said it was a matter of relief for people like her.

“It will be very helpful if the recommendation is carried out,” he said.

“I am unable to wander around town and go from university to university to get my daughter’s admission, nor can I leave my daughter in town because it is not safe.

“I hope the authorities concerned will take the problem very seriously,” he said.

Integrated test system to support universities

The Chairman of the Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh (APUB), Sheikh Kabir Hossain, said this will be a very welcome initiative for the private universities if it works properly.

“We haven’t been officially informed about it. But it’s a positive approach from UGC. It will help all universities get students in proportion. Students can admit themselves if they take into account the standards of the universities,” he said.

Hossain hoped the UGC would sit down with them to determine the forms and formalities of the cluster system before it was introduced.

“It will be fruitful if most universities join the system. The UGC needs to develop an acceptable formula, “he added.

UGC chairman Prof. Shahidullah said that the 47th annual report contains some recommendations on the current situation, problems and solutions in public and private universities.

The introduction of the cluster system in the private sector is one of them.

Prof. Shahidullah said UGC had long tried to arrange a cluster system admission test to end the suffering of admission seekers and their parents. “This time it was possible that a coronavirus broke out,” he said.

A central admission test will help the aspirants and their legal guardians. “We made the recommendation with these issues in mind,” said the UGC chairman.

Not all roses

UGC sat down with public universities in March and opted for the cluster admission test system for the 2020-21 academic year, even after top universities refused to accept the unified admission system.

The decision was made at a meeting between UGC Chairman Shahidullah and Vice Chancellors (VC) of 34 public universities in the UGC office in Dhaka.

However, the VCs from Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University and Rajshahi University did not attend the meeting.

In a handout dated December 1, 2020, the UGC announced that 19 general, science and technology universities are to hold admission exams under the cluster system for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The decision was made during an exchange meeting with the VCs of the respective universities at Jagannath University.

Dhaka University, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), Jahangirnagar University, Rajshahi University, and Chittagong University will not join this cluster admissions system due to their prior rejection.

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