Friday, July 3, 2020

DU teachers must promise to retain intellectual independence and not be party activists

The country's highest academic echelon University of Dhaka (DU) has stepped into 100th year on its journey. We are proud that the university since its establishment had been branded as the positive political ground for all democratic movements, including Language Movement and Liberation War along with academic excellence. But gradually over the last 100 years, the quality of teaching, knowledge creation, research, and contribution to knowledge has been deteriorated. It has been widely known as the battle-ground of crimes of killing, torture and extortion.

However, there have hardly any efforts to remake the university's past glory and make it a true ground of innovation and research and produce intellectually upright students, for which responsibility to theirs charge the teachers must honour their intellectual purity themselves. It is a national shame for us that the teachers of our prime and proud university lost all respects being party activists of thoroughly corruption politics.

 Unfortunately, DU has failed to claim its position in world universities and in the global knowledge society. Its focus shifted away from research and knowledge creation due to poor budget, poor laboratory and library facilities, inadequate accommodation, political motivation in recruitment and everyday conduct, and failure of adaptation with technological advancement. Notwithstanding, the university has a rich library, an unexplored knowledge mine, with old manuscripts, rare books, collection of newspapers, and reminiscent of old glory.

Dhaka University still has a great opportunity to have recovered from the ditch by prioritizing merit over politics, steadiness in administrative functionalities, research environment, and do what should adapt the new normal. The university, fondly called 'The Oxford of the East' in its initial days more, perhaps, because of some similarities with the University of Oxford in structure in some areas, has hardly been able to retain its past glory. Only recalling in its past glory now is less likely to take the university forward. The government must think to extract the opportunities of this university by promoting research, openness, knowledge creation, and banning partisan politics. The post Covid-19 situation also demands more attention on research, innovation, collaboration in research for saving the human lives, and dignity of the human being.