December 1, 2021, 11:40 am

Md Solamain Salman

2021-08-04 06:17:33 BdST

Govt steps in to end anomalies at NSU

The government has taken initiative to bring transparency in overall activities of North South University (NSU) after the University Grants Commission (UGC) in its investigation has found anomalies in the country’s top private university.

As part of the steps, Education Ministry’s Secondary and Higher Education Division recently sent a letter signed by its Deputy Secretary Shamima Begum to the NSU Board of Trustees (BoT) with a set of instructions.

In the letter, the ministry asked the private university to carry out further audit on the income and expenditure of the last 28 years (1992-2020) by the ministry-designated audit firm.

It asked the university’s BoT not to keep any person as a member of the university’s BoT who is involved in unethical and financial irregularities.

The ministry also said the BoT members should not conduct any activities of the university with the members’ personal business activities in such a way that creates conflict of interest.

It also sought to know from the university what effective measures were taken by the university to curb the militant and anti-lawful activities at the higher educational institute.

The Education Ministry also sought information on how many children of freedom fighters and poor meritorious students from underdeveloped areas were admitted to the university as per section 9 (4) of the Private University Act-2010.

It wanted to know what amount of their fees were waived and how many scholarships or other financial benefits were given to the students.

In the letter, the ministry asked the university to submit a report to the ministry providing information on what amount spent for research at the NSU.

Earlier, the Education Ministry had sent a letter to the UGC seeking its opinion on the cancellation of 19 unnecessary committees at the NSU.

The committees include Program Review Committee, Administrative Promotion Committee, Teacher Promotion Committee, Library Committee, Teacher Search Committee, Degree Review Committee, Student Admission Committee, Need Assessment Committee, Technical Committee, Purchasing Committee, Teacher Leave Committee, Student Scholarship Committee, Campus Development Committee, Audit Committee, and International Promotion and Affiliation Committee.

Later, the UGC recommended cancelling 15 out of the 19 committees of the NSU as those were formed violating the Private University Act. But the committees were not cancelled even after recommendation of the commission.

The Education Ministry in the latest letter asked the NSU to submit a list of the committees along with the clarification on the process and legal nature of these committees.

Education Ministry’s Additional Secretary AKM Aftab Hossain Pramanik said some directives were giving to the NSU following the decision of a meeting of the ministry as well as the UGC’s recommendations in a probe report on the university.

Ministry sources said they sent the letter to the NSU as per the decision taken from a ministry meeting and also based on the recommendations made in a probe report of the UGC.

Against a series of allegations, the UGC in 2019 ran investigation against the NSU to look into the financial irregularities and other misdeeds of the members of Board of Trustees (BoT) and the administration.

Later, the UGC submitted a probe report to the Education Ministry, saying the members of the NSU BoT as well as the administration exercise power to get benefits by resorting to illegal means.

Two more investigations were also conducted in 2012 and 2016 and both reports found the same anomalies involving the BoT and administration of the country’s first private university established in 1992.

The probe body, led by UGC Member Prof Dil Afroza Begum, in its report mentioned rampant corruption and other irregularities still continue at NSU like previous years.

The report also found lax sincerity among the entrepreneurs of NSU as the plenipotentiary of BoT members is a hindrance to the development of a university.

The probe body put forward eight recommendations, including taking necessary measures to remove the administrative and financial irregularities, at the university to address the irregularities at NSU.

The committee thinks that an emergency initiative should be taken saying the image of NSU as well as the private universities is being tarnished due to the domination of BoT members.

The probe body found that the university is spending a huge amount of money on non-academic sector but there is a very poor allocation for research activities at the university.

It also said the financial and administrative irregularities have long been taking place at the NSU and there is the need for special attention.

Mentioning that there is no congenial academic environment at the university, the UGC probe body had also suggested that the Education Ministry take necessary measures to bring back reputation of the university.

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