Vol. 5 Num 1011 Thu. April 05, 2007  
Front Page

Campus politics to be banned for good
Govt brackets politics of students, teachers as major hurdles for education; UGC drafting law

The government has initiated a move for a permanent ban on politics of students and teachers in public universities and colleges, in a significant bid to restore proper atmosphere for education.

Since January 11, all political activities have remained banned under the emergency rules while the University Grants Commission (UGC) is drafting a law that will restrict politics in educational institutions even after the state of emergency is withdrawn, sources said.

The education ministry that directed drafting the law, identified students' and teachers' politics as a major obstacle to suitable atmosphere for education.

A seven-member high-powered committee headed by UGC Chairman Prof M Asaduzzaman and comprising educationists and legal experts, which is preparing the draft law, is likely to submit it to the education ministry early next month.

Apart from imposing a ban on students' and teachers' politics, the draft will include some provisions to ensure accountability of the teachers by introducing a system to evaluate the teachers' performance by the students.

"No students' and teachers' organisations will be allowed to use party slogans and carry out any political party sponsored activities on the university campuses. The law will also be applicable in case of government colleges," the UGC chairman told The Daily Star yesterday.

He said the draft law will have provisions to punish anybody if he or she ignores the law.

The students and teachers will however be allowed to be involved in 'limited' politics, which will be related to education and improvement of academic atmosphere, Prof Asaduzzaman said, adding that the draft law will also have provisions to allow students and teachers to be involved in political activities if the country faces a critical moment.

It has been found that the quality of education at the university level is gradually deteriorating due to the prevailing students' and teachers' politics, he said.

"We hope, the present caretaker government will take effective measures to enact the law to ban dirty politics of students and teachers at the universities. It is time to enact such a law as no political government has brought the desired reform regarding campus politics," said the UGC chairman, who recently discussed the issue with the education adviser.

"Student politics lost its glory long ago. It has turned into a dirty means of student leaders for making money through extortion in various ways. Student politics has also triggered violence on the campus."

"Once the law is enacted, the UGC will also consider the atmosphere and quality of education in case of granting annual allocation for a university. The university with suitable atmosphere for education will be granted more allocation," Asaduzzaman said.

Law Adviser Mainul Hosein also said yesterday that partisan politics of students as well as the teachers must be stopped.

The University Ordinance of 1973 will be amended to curb freedom of teachers to be involved in politics, said sources in the seven-member committee that is drafting the law.

Once the government enacts the law, student organisations of Awami League, BNP and other political parties will have to cut their relations with those political parties.

The draft of the law would be sent for opinion to different students' and teachers' organisations, the UGC chairman said.

When asked to comment on the move, former president of Dhaka University Teachers' Association (DUTA) and also a leader of pro-Awami League teachers' body Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said the politics of students and teachers should be de-linked from partisan politics.

He however said the rights of students and teachers to be involved in politics should not be curtailed for the interest of the society.

Present DUTA President and also a leader of pro-BNP teachers' body Prof Sadrul Amin said they are not directly involved with the politics of any political party although they have the right to be so. "No teachers should be involved in sycophantic politics and student politics should be de-linked from partisan politics," he said.