Saturday, August 18, 2018 | ePaper

DU fails to attract foreign students

Lengthy admission process, communication deficiency blamed

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Rayhanul Islam :
Foreign students are losing interest to get enrolled into Dhaka University (DU) due to lengthy and difficult admission process, accommodation problem, information and communication deficiency and lack of scholarship facilities.
Even few years ago a significant number of foreign students got themselves admitted into this university, but now admission of foreign students has come down almost to zero.
According to DU sources, this year only three foreign students got admitted into DU, while four students were enrolled in 2016-2017 session, three students in 2015-2016, five students in 2014-2015 and seven students were enrolled in 2013-2014 session.
Sources said, information unavailability, university ranking decrease and residential and linguistic problems contributed to the fall of number of foreign students. Moreover, DU does not provide any scholarship to foreign students.
The lengthy and difficult admission process for the foreign students is another major reason why foreign students feel discouraged to apply at the DU, education experts said.
Under the current system, a foreigner at first has to apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Bangladesh embassy in his country, and then to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Upon receiving their approvals, the student then has to contact the DU authorities for admission, which is done online and takes at least two to three months to get processed.
The experts said the decrease of foreign students enrolment in the country's premier institute for higher education is most likely because of Bangla being a major medium of instruction as well as the rise of quality of higher education in their own countries.
Prof Syed Anower Hossain told The New Nation that semester system has totally destroyed our education system. There is no way to take more classes than twenty-two or twenty-five at the end of a semester.
"Our academic system has collapsed and the university is lagging behind in the international university ranking. The foreign students do not get international standard of education here, quality campus environment, seat in halls, scholarship and other facilities. So, they are losing interest in DU," he said.
Prof Anowar also said, ``If we want to admit more foreign students, then first we have to ensure quality education for the students.'
According to DU dormitory official sources, only 112 foreign students have been admitted into the Dhaka University in the last six years.  Of them, 22 students are studying in Dhaka University's various departments and the rest are students of DU affiliated medical colleges. Majority of the students came from SAARC member countries.
A few years ago, many Palestinian students got admitted to DU. But now their numbers are also decreasing day by day.
Kishor Dhal, a DU student from Bhutan, said, I am a residential student of Sir P.J. Hartog International Hall. The hall has enough rooms for foreign students, but others have occupied most of the seats.
The environment of the campus is not properly safe for us. Every day, procession, rally and some other political activities happen on the campus, which is not suitable for foreign students.
Besides, the teachers give lecture in Bengali language. But most of the foreign students cannot understand class lectures as they do not understand Bengali.
Sir P.J. Hartog International Hall houses foreign students. Currently, 133 foreign students with their guests live in this Hall. 22 of them are studying at Dhaka University and the rest are studying in medical colleges affiliated to Dhaka University. The maximum numbers of students are studying at Dhaka Medical College.
There are totally 123 rooms in this Hall. Of them, foreign students live in 60 rooms while teachers and officers occupy the rests.
An official said, before 2006 many foreign students were admitted to DU. But now the rate of foreign students' admission is few.
"Our website is not updated. When, foreign students visit our website, they do not get proper information about DU admission system. We provide the application form in website received from the Education Ministry. Sadly, before admission, they do not know where they will stay," he said.  
DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman said, we did not get any complain about admission process of foreign students. If any student complains, we will take steps.
"We cannot arrange proper facilities for the foreign students because the annual budget of the university is not enough to provide them more facilities," he said.

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