Quality Education and Faculty Turnover Rate Perspective on Private University of Bangladesh Essay Sample
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Quality Education and Faculty Turnover Rate Perspective on Private University of Bangladesh Essay Sample
At present there are 88 public and private universities in Bangladesh. The numbers of public universities are 31 while private universities are 54. The first public university is The University of Dhaka, established in 1921. The establishment of private university is relatively a new phenomenon in this country. In early 1990s, private sector came forward to establish universities. Since then country experienced a spectacular growth in private universities– they were mostly in and around Dhaka.
After deregulation program, private sector participation is increasing significantly in Bangladesh, especially in some area of service sector. As a reform initiative of public sector management, government shifted its policy in early 1990s in higher education sector. This program makes a pressure to public university and creates a competitive environment in country higher education. Though 88 universities are (including National University and Open University) providing higher education but it is widely saying that the quality of higher education has declined steadily. Public university is the best options of the students for higher education and then comes private university. With a few exceptions, public universities are failing to meet the market demand and suffering from low governance. Private university emerged as an alternative to cope up with the expanded demand of higher education. Only a few of them are maintaining standard but a huge allegation are being raised against the rests.
It was hoped that Higher Education Quality (HEQ) will be ensured with the competition of both the sectors. But it is commonly saying that the quality of higher education is declining rapidly, in some areas quite alarmingly. According to academicians, researchers, various committee (UGCled High Powered Committee, 2003) or commissions report (UGC, PSC), newspapers report and public perception, are the quality of education of the private university is deteriorating sharply.
Bundle of allegations are there against them; universities are being blamed for making higher education toy and degrees are easy-to-get. Job providers are also raising the same question. It is commonly saying that Private universities are commercializing higher education rather than providing service. Even these institutions don’t bother to maintain or abide respective Law and guidelines also. On the other side, some other research showed, of some private higher educational institutions are providing quality education and their degrees at international standard. In this context, this study has been initiated to explore the quality of education of private universities that are provided by them. In this study, teacher’s quality, Teacher turnover factor and infrastructure facilities will be analyzed to explore the quality of education in Private Universities. To conduct the study six private universities have taken by using specific criteria. Primary data have been collected from questionnaire survey and interview. There are also secondary source was used. In this context, an attempt has taken to explore the quality of education of private universities in broad perspective. Within this broader area, study will explore the teaching quality, faculty turnover rate, faculty motivation level, research activities, and library, classroom and campus facilities. With these issues, we tried to search the employability and recognition of the degree.
With the expansion of education facilities in secondary and higher secondary level the demand for higher education have increased dramatically in recent years. Public higher educational institutions were not successfully meeting this pressure. To meet 5 demand and reduce the increasing cost in higher level, the government opened the opportunity for private sector participation in higher education. As a result, the number of students in the private universities is increasing day by day. According to UGC report 2010, the number of students in tertiary level is 15ac (more than 1.5 million). There were 2 lac 15 thousand students studying in 28 public universities (excluding National University and Open University) in 2008. In the same year 1 lac 83 thousand students were studying in 58 private universities. We know, Education and development are intertwined. Through education, a country develops its productive human resources that serve as the engine of social and economic transformation. According to Harbison (1973), ‘human beings are the active agents who accumulate capital, exploit natural resources, build social, economic, and political organizations, and carry forward national development.’ Only when human resources — their skills, talents, energies, and 3 knowledge — are effectively developed and harnessed, a nation can attain the capability and credibility to bring about positive social changes and much needed economic growth.
To achieve the Millennium Development Goals as well as the development of the country we need skilled, knowledgeable manpower. Only quality education can ensure expected level of human resource. Private Universities first introduces American system in country’s higher education. Four years first degree, grading system and some other innovation have come here through private universities. With some mismanagement and profit motive, they are helping to reshape the higher education to create competent and market oriented human resources. Not all universities are equivalent in standard, this also true for Public University. Some are doing excellent, some are average and some others’ standard is questionable. But it is tough to draw a common line about the standard and performance of the institutions. UGC, the apex body for higher education in its report observed and expressed its concern about the quality of HE institutions. UGC identified that most of the universities have no quality teacher, fulltime faculty, updated curriculum, infrastructure facilities, libraries, teaching aids, etc.
Poor governance, financial mismanagement, profit motive of the owners seriously affect the governance and quality of the private higher educational institutions. Private universities are self financed and only to get approval of new curriculum, awarding degree and some other administrative matters, they need to go UGC. UGC cannot take action against any allegation due to liberal Private University Act. It is very difficult to comment definitely on the quality of education in the private universities. There is no evaluation system for this. Of course, the public universities also do not have any system of quality monitoring. One advantage of the public universities is that they draw good quality students and also good quality teachers. They start with a better base; this may not be true for all the private universities of Bangladesh (Ahmed, 1997). Quality of education depends on a lot of issues. The broad areas are management, teaching quality, faculty resources, quality intake, method of teaching, technology support, update curriculum, direct and indirect infrastructure, etc. With all these, university should have specific mission and vision to its goal.
We have some success stories in private universities in Bangladesh. Some are providing quality education and producing high quality graduates. It is commonly saying that private universities are responsible for deteriorating the higher education quality. Recently, International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP) conducted a research titled Private 4 Higher Education (PHE) in Bangladesh. Research shows that, business-graduates of private universities are getting preference in job market. Their average income levels were significantly above the income level of their counterparts from the public universities, the sole exception was the graduates from IBA of Dhaka University (IIEP, 2007). On the other side, some are selling certificates. Quality teacher, teaching method, physical facilities are not at all in support for higher level. According to UGC report (2008), only a few universities have their own campus, but rest of them running in rented house in residential or industrial areas of the city. Even after 10 years of getting approval they failed to establish permanent campus that was supposed to do within five years of approval. So, faculty quality and facilities are the major concerns for PUs in Bangladesh to ensure quality production.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
Private Universities are providing Higher Education. After 1990, there is a dramatic growth in the country’s higher education. Instead of rapid expansion, the quality of education is declining. Private universities are profit-oriented and some allegations are there against them. According to Newspapers report, they are selling certificates and thus responsible for declining education quality. But all universities are not equal in terms of providing inputs to produce output as productive and employable graduates. It is commonly saying that faculty selection is not based on merit and universities are depending on part-time teacher. On the other side, most of the universities are fail to provide infrastructure facilities like laboratory, classroom, and library. Universities are running in industrial or residential area. In the same building, some floors are rented for university and others are restaurant, beauty parlour, and furniture shop. Computer Science and communications related subjects are common but there is no sufficient lab facility, networking, ICT infrastructure and library facility. To ensure the quality of a program these issues are related. So, education quality cannot be ensured without quality teacher and other facilities. 1.4 Literature Review
In Bangladesh, only a few studies have been done to explore the education quality of private universities. UNESCO and IIEP have conducted a research in 2006. This study analyzes growth and expansion of the private sector and discusses the financing, management and administrative control, and regulation of quality control measures. In that study, the researchers took into account the indicators among others, those are selected for this study. 5 Syed Saad Andaleeb (2003) conducted another study in 2003 used 9 factor model to explain the satisfaction of alumni with their education. These factors include teacher quality, method and content, peer quality, facilities and resources, the effectiveness of the administration, campus politics, gender and year of graduation.
A study by Jamal (2002) explored the role of private universities in human resource development. The aim of the study is to analyze the effectiveness of private universities in promoting quality higher education in Bangladesh and their contribution to human resource development (HRD) in the country. He argued that despite many shortcomings, private universities provide a global flavor to their students. Some of their facilities are of a very high standard. In fact, taking advantages of shortcomings of the Private University Act (PAU) 1992, many universities have been established that lack essential academic infrastructures. These universities are likely to bring bad name to others who are providing high quality education in the country. Finally he argued that though at a high cost, private universities in Bangladesh definitely have contribution in human resource development.
Lewis and Smith (1998) in their book Total Quality in Higher Education focused four pillars of Quality. According to them 4 pillars are serving the customer, continuous improvement, managing with facts, and respect for people. All are distinct, but equal in potential strength. All four must be addressed; minimizing one weakens the others. By not addressing one, the entire house of quality will fail. Andrea Bonaccorsi et. al (2007) in their book University: Strategic Knowledge Creation identified variables in six broad areas to analyze the quality of higher education. Those area general information on HEIs, revenues, expenditures, personnel, education production and research and technology production. International workshop on the development of measurements for higher education quality assurance in Bangladesh (2007) proposed indicators/measures of higher education quality in Bangladesh. In working paper-2, the workshop proposed some areas with specific parameter. Some of the areas are; purpose and objective, faculty, instruction, student service, library, laboratories, infrastructure, research culture, etc. Another conference on higher education in the Asia-Pacific Region was organized by UNESCO in Macao held in 25-26 September, 2008.
In conference report highlighted some key issues, such 6 as; statements of intent, institutions and policy, curricula, equity and participation, research, teaching and service, etc. Shun-Hsing et. al. establish performance evaluation indicators for higher education. The study concluded with 18 important evaluation items and 84 indicators through the Delphi Method. They divided the areas in input, process and output aspect. Every area has some factors or items those are explained by various indicators. According to Shun-Hsing Study the factors are 1. Input aspect: Student quality, faculty resources, financial resources, teaching resources, student structure, and development target. 2. Process Aspect: Teaching quality, research results, curriculum planning, tutorship result, retention rate, and 3. Output Aspect: School reputation, financial donation, Strategic Planning for Higher Education in Bangladesh: 2006-2026 (2006) talked about the infrastructure and faculty quality of private universities with other relevant issues. This report pointed out, a large number of private universities are operating in makeshift arrangements in hired accommodation.
They have failed to meet the minimum requirements of physical infrastructures, full time qualified faculty, teaching aids and other facilities that are essential for imparting proper education. UGC recently published its Annual Report 2010. In this report UGC recommended that student intake should be merit-based, more transparent and legitimized. Moreover, report focused on the infrastructure, quality faculty turnover. It says, more education facilities should be provided. UGC prescribed rules must be followed at the faculty selection. Mohammed Ehsan (2008) in his book Higher Education Governance in Bangladesh focused that qualified full time faculty members must be recruited in the private universities, at least 80 percent faculty members should be full time. Ehsan expressed his concern, unless campus facilities are upgraded largely, we cannot expect vibrant academic atmosphere in the private universities. In his book he tried to explore the status of governance in Public and Private Universities in Bangladesh.
1.5 Scopes and Objectives of the Study
For sampling we selected 10 (ten) universities out of 58. Only 15 (fifteen) universities are taken for study. Education quality depends on various issues. In this study we have taken only two variables i.e faculty resources, Faculty turnover and infrastructure as independent variable to explain the dependent variable on Quality of Education. Again infrastructure Faculty turnover and faculty resources also are related to a lot of issues. We have taken selection of faculty, existing faculties in various levels and categories, benefits they are enjoying, and research activities for analyzing faculty resources. In infrastructure I have taken campus, classroom, library and laboratory facilities. For analyzing these issues I would use some indicators. Objectives of this study have been divided into general and specific objective. The general objective of the study is to explore the education quality of Private Universities in Bangladesh.
The specific objectives are;
1. To assess the quality of teachers of Private Universities. 2. To know the faculty turnover rate of Private Universities. 3. To explore the infrastructure facilities those are provided by the Private Universities.
1.6 Research Question
A research question is usually more exploratory than a research hypothesis or a null hypothesis. The general objective of this research is exploring HEQ of private Universities in Bangladesh. In line with objective, two questions have taken for this research, one is related to faculty resources and another is infrastructure facilities. Questions are; 1. Is the existing faculty members’ quality enough to ensure education quality of private universities? 2. Are the infrastructure facilities satisfactory for higher level of education in private universities? 1.7 Significance of the Problem
Despite the rapid increase in the enrolment in higher education during the last decade the quality of education remains a serious cause of concern. UGC reports and assessments observed that both public and private universities suffer from quality problems (Salauddin, 2007). Education especially higher education has an important role for the development of a country. The basic objectives of the universities are providing education, conducting research and creating new knowledge. Andaleeb (2003) says that, higher education is of strategic importance not only as an engine for human resource development and as a facilitator of growth through forward and backward linkages, it also serves as an incubator and repository of knowledge with untold potential.
Today, it is under intense scrutiny in many countries of the world. Governmental and societal groups are taking a hard look, among other factors, at the performance of higher education institutions (HEIs) and the quality and value they deliver (Kember, 1994; Nordvall, 1996; Pounder, 1997). 8 With the exception of a few, Private Universities are blaming for deteriorating the quality of education. But, as of today, there is no accreditation body or any other mechanism to assess or ensure the quality of higher education. The role of UGC is not so sharp due to legal and resource constraints. Ministry of Education is playing ultimate role to institutionalize quality control. Actually, the UGC and the GoB, of course, exercise little control over the quality of education in public universities (Alam et. al, 2007). So, we need formal mechanism to identify the reasons or factors behind the deterioration of quality education.
In this context, the study attempts to explore the quality of education of Private Sector Institutions. The study will explore its goal or assess the quality with some common indicators. This research will help to know the strengths and weaknesses of PUs and what are the causes behind the declining education quality. Every year huge students were going abroad for higher education. The country was losing brilliant youths and foreign currency as well. With the emergence of PUs this trend is negative now. If the PUs maintains quality the country will be able to protect brilliant students from going abroad.
As no significant study has done earlier in this field, this study will help to give at least some thoughts to formulate proper guidelines and policies relating to faculty resources and infrastructure facilities. 1.8 Limitations of the Study
This study was conducted to assess the education quality of Private University of Bangladesh, to know the quality; six universities have been taken. But the question is whether only six universities can represent the whole sub-sector. This is the major limitations of the study. Among the Private Universities there are differences in terms of size, enrolment, courses offered, teaching quality, budget, some are new and some are old comparatively. So, it is tough to draw a line whether one’s quality of education represents others. Out of 51, there are 9 universities located outside the capital city, six in Chittagong and three in Sylhet. I have taken six universities. Among them the campus of 5 universities are located in Dhaka and one in Chittagong. It would be better to choose any one from Sylhet. But due to resource constraints I have to limit it. This may be another limitation of this study.
2.1 Private University
Private Universities are those higher education institutions established privately by a group of people or an organization with the Government permission with an aim to spreading the pportunities of higher education among larger number of students under Private University Act, 1992 (Amended 1998) that was passed on 9th August in 1992. According to the Act ‘Private University’ means; any private university established under this Act; and following the provisions of this act and in fulfillment of the conditions provided by the government, any institution managed under the affiliation of any foreign university which is operating courses of Honours or Masters Degree, Diploma or Certificate Courses or any institution which is offering Degree, Diploma or Certificates (Section-2, subsection-(g), Private University Act, 1992, Amended 1998). 2.2 Quality in Higher Education
Quality is a multidimensional construct. It is also a relative issue. Quality may differ to different people. It depends on various stakeholders. Harvey and green (1993) say that, Quality is a relative to the user of the term and the circumstances in which it is involved. It means different things to different people…indeed the same person may adopt different conceptualizations at different moments. Defining quality in higher education is proved to be a challenging task. Cheng and Tam (1997) suggest that ‘education quality is a rather vague and controversial concept and Pounder (1999) argued that quality is a ‘notoriously ambiguous term’. At the broadest level, education quality can be viewed as a set of 11 elements that constitute the input, process and output of the education system, and provide services that completely satisfy both internal and external strategic constituencies by meeting their explicit and implicit expectations (Cheng and Tam,1997: 23). Harvey and Green (1993) identify five different approaches in viewing quality that are used in higher education. These are;
1. Quality as exception (high Standards),
2. Quality as perfection or consistency (Zero defects),
3. Quality as fitness for purpose,
4. Quality as value for money, and
5. Quality as transformation of the participant.
It also refers to the four pillars of education: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and with others, and learning to be (Delors, 1996). One of the prime goals of quality education is to build knowledge, life skills, perspectives, attitudes and values of the students to transform the society into a more productive, sustainable one. Quality education attempts to uphold and convey the ideals of a sustainable world. It takes into consideration the social, economic, and environmental contexts of the country and helps shape the curriculum or program to reflect their respective unique conditions. Quality education therefore must be locally relevant and culturally appropriate (Salauddin, 2007).
According to World Bank (2007) a broad range of factors affect quality in tertiary institutions including their vision and goals, the talent and expertise of the teaching staff, admission and assessment standards, the teaching and learning environment, the employability of its graduates (relevance to the labor market), the quality of the library and laboratories, management effectiveness, governance and leadership.
We can say the term ‘quality’ in higher education has a number of connotations, mostly along the academic excellence or performance criterion. Quality means to maintain certain standard and norm to give institutions of higher learning more vitality, continuity, stability and legitimacy. Ehsan (2007) gave a direction in his study; quality of higher education overall is referred to as persistence, stability and continuity of academic affairs such as holding of regular classes, regular passing out of graduates, violence free campus, politics free academic culture etc. in this regard, quality of education may said to be the institutionalization of academic affairs in institutions of higher learning.
2.3 Objectives of Higher Education
The aims and objectives of higher education may differ from country to country. Developed and developing countries have different challenges in development and objectives in higher education. One’s priority to achieve development and another’s priority is to maintain or sustain the achieved development. Though there are some common objectives of education such as building knowledge, life skills, perspectives, attitudes and values of the students to transform the society 11 into a more productive, sustainable one (Salauddin, 2007). But every country, region has some different issues of concern based on their development target, spiritual thinking, resources, priorities etc. To achieve general and specific goal quality education is needed for every country. Quality higher education develops leadership qualities in people of different professions and develops awareness in the learners to protect independence, sovereignty and integrity of the country. A high quality assurance in education in Bangladesh is not only imperative for her internal human resource management but also to survive, compete and succeed in the globally competitive educational environment.
2.4 Measuring Quality
Measuring quality is another tough issue. Quality control and quality assurance issues are also related with this concept. Again the measuring indicator also differs in line with countries’ objectives and existing reality. On the other side, in the changing global context and challenges, quality measuring parameters are also changing. Again, there are variations in academic programs like business faculty, technology based programs, medicine, engineering, social sciences.
2.6 Independent variable
How can we judge the quality of teacher or teaching quality? Andaleeb (2007) in his research search this question and answered through the derived measures. Teacher’s quality as reflected in their academic qualifications, teaching experience, communication skills, research abilities, attention to students, and ability to impart knowledge to the students. Another pertinent question is that how teaching quality will be assessed. Bloom’s (1956) Taxonomy is a helpful starting point in this regard. It establishes a hierarchy on which teaching quality may be assessed. The six thierarchical categories include knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Nordvall, 1996).
• Knowledge is about remembering course content either through recognition or recall. • Comprehension represents students’ ability to (1) translate material/knowledge from one form to another, (2) explain course material, and (3) predict effects of course materials. • Application refers to the ability to apply course content to real situations. • Analysis represents students’ ability to look at disparate aspects of the course and see the interrelations among the parts. • Synthesis is the ability to recombine course contents to create new structures or patterns. • Evaluation represents the ability to use internal or external standards to assess the value of course content.
Table: 2.2 Independent Variables and Sub-variables
Faculty resources Infrastructure Facilities
1. selection method of faculty member;
2. existing faculties in various level and
categories with academic background;
3. teaching quality;
4. promotion prospects and benefits they are
5. Research activities.
1. campus facility;
2. classroom facilities,
3. library facilities and
4. laboratory facilities.
With these variables, as an input variable; students’ enrollment has taken as an important issue or this study. Without quality intake, it is not easy to achieve quality output. So, existing enrollment pattern and method also is focused as an additional relevant issue.
2.7 Dependent Variable
The objective of a higher educational institution is not only to create and disseminate knowledge, but also to develop human resources that will accelerate the socio-economic development of the nation (Hafiz, 2002). Judging the quality of education of a university is a complex process, as it involves national, regional and global considerations. However, a good quality university should meet the following conditions (Hafiz, 2002):
a. The people, the government and academicians at home and abroad believe that its degrees carry high academic value. b. Other well-known universities accept the graduates for higher studies or employ them as teachers. c. Credits/time completed at that university can be transferred to other good universities. d. International scholars recognize and cite its research publications. e. Graduates are in demand in the national and international job market.
Other criteria, such as the following, may also be employed in judging the standards of a university: admission policies, curriculum and program design, physical infrastructure including library, laboratories and internet facilities, faculty appointment procedure and standards, teaching and learning innovations, interaction with accrediting bodies and professional organizations, securing students’ view on academic matters, organization and management, student support program, overall environment and so on (Jamal, 2002).
2.8 Analytical framework
From the above discussion, it has been tried to clear the quality, education quality, objectives of higher education, factors related to QE etc. under the conceptual framework to explore the Quality of Education where an analytical framework has been established. To follow the framework, I will try to collect data and information and analyze those to reach the target point.
At present, there are 82 universities in Bangladesh of which 51 are private and 31 are public. With the expansion of education facilities in secondary and higher secondary level the demand for higher education has increased dramatically in recent years. The public higher institutions were not successfully meeting this pressure. To meet this demand and reduce the increasing cost at the higher level, government opened the opportunity for private sector participation in higher education. As a result, the number of students in the private universities is increasing day by day. The private universities in Bangladesh recorded a phenomenal growth after the enactment of the Private University Act in 1992. Both public and private sector institutions are providing higher education. Though some questions are here about the quality of education, it makes a competitive environment in higher education. This interaction and competition opens a space to enhance the quality of higher education.
3.2 Public and Private Sector
Public Sector: The term public sector covers the whole range of public organizations from national government ministries and departments to government business enterprises and local departments. A key role of Public sector is to provide basic infrastructure, essential services, destination management and marketing, innovation, training and education. (Elliott 1997) Public sector deals with the delivery of goods and services by and for the government, whether national, regional or local/municipal. Public sector includes such services as the police, military, public roads, public transit, education and healthcare for the poor. The purpose of the public sector and the public organizations is to initiate such projects that will be used by all the citizens of the country and will aid in the economic development. Public sector is not profit oriented but that will facilitate the private sector in its activities.
Private Sector: The Private sector is lifeblood of the economy. Since the landmark publication of Adam Smith’s book “Wealth of Nation” in 1776, human society has understood that the private market can generate tremendous efficiencies in terms of resource allocation and production. Private organizations are profit driven and they like to invest in projects that will give them the most benefits. The source of funds for private investors is their own money or loans. The private sector tries to limit the access to just those that will provide them the maximum benefits.
3.3 Strengths of Private Sector
Basic strength of sector is quality of services. Private providers try to expand their businesses to attracting new customers. Customers’ opinion and voice are the prime concern for private providers. In recent years, many business sectors have been revolutionized by a new customerfocus. Management standards are generally higher in the private sector, with staff usually better paid and motivated. So, business can act as a partner transferring important skills for a great lot of sectors including the ones of health and education. The private sector is well suited to carry out research and to develop new techniques. Before introducing new product usually they conduct feasibility study or analyze the customers behavior in that regards. Also private sector invests to develop Skills and professional development.
3.4 Structure and Different Streams of the Education System
Education in Bangladesh has three major stages-primary, secondary and higher education. Primary education is a 5-year cycle while secondary education is a 7- year one with three sub stages: 3 years of junior secondary, 2 years of secondary and 2 years of higher secondary. The entry age for primary is 6 years. The junior, secondary and higher stages are designed for age groups 11-13, 14-15 and 16-17 years. Higher secondary is followed by graduate level education in general, technical, engineering, agriculture, business studies, and medical streams requiring 5-6 years to obtain a Masters degree (Annexure-1). In the general education stream, higher secondary is followed by college/university level education through the Pass/Honors Graduate Courses (4 years). The Master’s Degree is of one year’s duration for the holders of Bachelor Degree (Honors) and two years duration for the holders of (Pass) Bachelor Degree. Higher education in the technical area also starts after higher secondary level. Engineering, agriculture, business, medical and information & communication technology are the major technical and technological education areas. In each of the courses of study, except for medical education, a 5- year course of study is required for the first degree (MoE, 2010).
Primary level education is provided under two major institutional arrangements (stream)-general and madrasha, while secondary education has three major streams: general, technical-vocational and madrasha. Higher education, likewise, has 3 streams: general (inclusive of pure and applied science, arts, business and social science), madrasha and technology education. Technology education in its turn includes agriculture, engineering, medical, textile, leather technology and ICT. Madrashas (Arabic for educational institution), functional parallel to the three major stages, have similar core courses as in the general stream (primary, secondary and post-secondary) but have additional emphasis on religious studies (MoE, 2010).
3.5 Higher Education in Public Sector
The University of Dhaka opened its doors at July 1921 according to the recommendations of Nathan Commission and Sadlar Commission. Before that Indian parliament passed an Act ( Act no. xxxI ) in 1920. At the very beginning Dhaka University (DU) was a residential university. In the first academic year, the total number of students was 877. After 87 years of establishment, in 2008 thirty two thousand students were studying in DU and more than 1600 teachers were teaching. During the Pakistan period of 1947-1971–this university contributed enormously to the formation of a highly educated middle class community in East Pakistan. The university was the main center of advanced education as well as political activism– this activism was gaining momentum over time through different stages of development. It was not possible for the faculty and students of the University of Dhaka to keep them entirely detached from the political developments in the province in these formative decades of the Pakistani state (Wadood, 2006).
Till 1971, there were 6 public universities in Bangladesh and until 1985 no new university was established though demand was increasing. In 1980 government approved Islamic University but it started its academic activities in 1985. After that Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet was established in 1987 and Khulna University started in 1991. At present, there are 31 public universities in Bangladesh. There are two international universities in Bangladesh. One is OIC funded Islamic University of Technology, campus located in Gazipur. Another is Asian University for Women, located in Chittagong established by a Boston based university support foundation.
3.6 Higher Education in Private Sector
The idea of private university in Bangladesh is a new phenomenon dating back only to 1992 with the enactment of the PU Act 1992. Within a short span of time PUs becomes a pervasive part of the country’s academic landscape, satisfying the soaring demand for higher education and presenting new challenges for a troubled public system. The background was an ever-growing demand for HE that was not met by a limited number of public universities. Moreover, the government had to allocate a huge subsidy for this sector.
In the context of private sector participation in various service areas and increasing trend of public-private cooperation in many sectors of the economy, the government welcomed private initiatives in this sector. The argument was to inject competition in the sector–underlying the assumption that private universities would be self-financed creating no pressure on public expenditure. A large number of university-going students were opting for foreign universities at that time which was creating a pressure on foreign exchange reserve– government expected to arrest paetially the outflow of foreign currency by this cooperation with the private sector (Wadood, 2006). Till 1992 there were 8 public universities in Bangladesh that could accommodate a limited number of eligible aspirants, disappointing about 75 per cent of the nearly 80,000 who applied for admission. Now country has a vibrant HE sector with 51 private and 31 public universities. Other than National University and Open University, about 4 lac students are studying at the tertiary level at present.
North South University (NSU), the first private university in Bangladesh was established by the NSU foundation with the initiative of a group of philanthropists, industrialists, bureaucrats and academics. The government of Bangladesh approved the establishment of NSU in 1992 under PUA, 1992. It was formally inaugurated on 10th February 1993 with 143 students by Begum Khaleda Zia, the then Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The president of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is the Chancellor of NSU (Siddiki, 2000).
In 1988-89 first initiative was taken in Dhaka to establish a Private University. The North South University project was first initiated by a former Ambassador and Secretary Mr. Moslehuddin Ahmed. He discussed the idea with a group of businessmen, intellectual, bureaucrats, and some of his family members working in USA. In May 1990 they formed a 30 members Foundation for Promotion of Education and Research (FPER) to expedite the project. NSU founders claim that they are the first government approved private university in Bangladesh because NSU got the approval first. Historically it would be interesting to know that the first private university was established by Moulana Bhashani at Shantosh in 1960s, and it was named Islamic University that was not recognized by the government. The second private university that was established in the ‘70s was Darul Ihsan University (DIU). Then in 1992, IUBAT was established. But NSU got the approval later before these two” (Hafiz 2006 cited in Emtiaz 2009). In October 2006 government approved two private universities; those are East Delta University Chittagong and ASA University Dhaka. After 2006 approval of new university is stopped by a government order issued by Ministry of Education. According to UGC report 2008, at present there are 51 Private Universities in Bangladesh (Annexure-2).
3.7 Quality Assurance Mechanism
At present, quality is the main concern at the country’s tertiary level education. There is no regular review or critical review of the courses that is essential for quality maintenance and enhancement. There is no accreditation body or quality monitoring authority in Bangladesh. So, generally there is no evaluation criterion to evaluate course curriculum, mission, vision, faculty quality, student quality, transparency in management, student evaluation, etc related to quality assurance. Most quality control is exercised through administrative review by the departmental head/chairman or deans of the faculties in the universities. Both public and private universities in Bangladesh have no external system or method to review the academic programs of the institution with respect to above mentioned objectives except an approval from the UGC – which is mandatory for private universities only. UGC has a very little scope to do. Only UGC can provide facts to the government. As Private Universities are self financed, that is why they need not come to UGC. Ministry of Education (MoE) is the ultimate authority to institutionalize quality control measures. But, for a long time MoE is trying to enact a new law for PUs, still ministry cannot do it successfully for the opposing position of PU Founders Association. This association is a powerful domination and has a strong political link with every ruling party.
Most of the private universities have failed to introduce corporate system in university governance. One common complaint about the governance of private universities is that it is too much person-based. Usually the person who takes the initiative in establishing the private university dominates the administration. In some cases, it is the initiator who virtually runs university. Moreover, some of the initiators try to monopolize almost all authority by putting their own people, such as; wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and even old mother-in-law in different positions. This has been possible because of the absence of detailed guidelines about the composition of the different authorities (Mannan, 1999).
3.8 Types of Founding Authority of Private University
Private higher education in Bangladesh is provided by different type of agencies. There are certain patterns in the ownership of private universities. First, most agencies are non-profit entities. In most cases, a group of like-minded philanthropic and relatively resourceful people are organized and establish a university. Their intention is to satisfy the existing excess demand for some types of university courses/degrees in the country. Leadership in founding this breed of universities has originated mainly from the visionary elites, e.g. highly placed (former) civil servants, industrialists, businessmen and professionals. Some universities highlighted religious-oriented course. These types of institutions teach Islamic ideology-based courses in addition to market oriented courses. Some universities are established by country’s leading NGO. Renowned NGO, Association of Social Advancement (ASA) established ASA University, another leading NGO Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) established BRAC University and Gonoshastho established Gono Bishyabidyaloy. Out of these types of founders, Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) established a University in Chittagong named Premier University.
3.9 Enrolment in Private Universities
In 2008, there were 1.64,624 students studying in public universities (excluding National niversity and Open University) and 1,82,641 students were studying in Private Universities (UGC Report 2008). In recent years private university enrolment trend is sharper than public university.
At present, about 2 lac students are studying in PUs. Though in recent years opportunity expanded in public sector but according to demand these are not enough. Students are to compete to get admitted in Public Universities. With the expansion in secondary and higher secondary level, huge pressure creates at the tertiary level. Not having enough scope, students have no choice to persue their education other than private university. All PUs are not equally grown up based on quality and facilities. Some universities are trying positively to enhance quality education. Most of the institutions don’t have strong mission in quality achievement. As they are getting students easily, so they don’t care about quality. Only a few universities take admission test and maintain quality in selection process. Generally PUs except two or three universities cannot attract top quality students.
Still public universities are the first option for the admission seekers. Sometimes high fees and other expenditure of PUs become major concern for middle class as well as bright students who are not financially solvent. On the other side, PUs those who are maintaining high standard, do not get brilliant students but presently this trend is changing. Students from English medium school have difference in curriculam. Normally they cannot do good in admission test in public universities. So, private universities are the better option for them.
There is no session-jam, campus violence, motivated and faculties, more ICT access, English speaking environment and job market oriented courses are offered in PU. A portion of students put their choice for getting admission in PU. Recently to get admitted in North South, Independent, East West, South East, AIUB, Brac University students are to face exam. It is becoming tough day by day. So, coaching centres are opened now in Dhaka for not only public university bul also for private university. Students can complete their couse in time and enter into job market before their counter parts studying in public institutions.
Teacher in Private Universities
For opening a new course it is mandatory to appoint 3 full time senior faculties with a professor and required number of part-time teachers. But most of the PUs are far from this obligation. A few universities are attracting full-time teachers with good academic background and higher degree offering high salary and allowances. Alam et. al. (2006) expressed their concern that the lack of highly qualified teachers is posing a threat to the quality and expansion of PUs, as they are currently dependent on part-time teachers. Ehsan (2008) said, being part-time, these teachers often fail to be punctual and are unable to concentrate on their classes. Much of their time is taken up in commuting from one university to another. About the quality of teachers he added, since the demand for teachers in certain subjects has risen, with the increase of number of universities, compromise has been made by some in respect of qualification and experience. Overall, the quality of teaching in private universities has been erratic and uneven.
On the other side, many Bangladeshi academics are working abroad. They are enjoying more salary than public university in Bangladesh. As a few Private Universities are providing more facilities than Public University, they are interested to come to Bangladesh. This opportunity creates a professional space for many Bangladeshi academics to come back to the country. This Brain Gain contributes to develop skilled manpower for the betterment of the nation.
3.11Foreign student enrolment in Private University
Private Universities are better options for foreign students. More than one thousand foreign students were studying in PUs when only 221 were in public universities. Enrolment pattern shows that PUs can attract the prospective foreign students. In 2008, out of 1049, more than 8 hundred students were enrolled in medical faculty of USTC. Other than USTC, in the same year 31 students were studying in NSU, 49 in International Islamic University Chittagong, 25 in International University of Business Agriculture and Technology, 37 in Gono Bishyabidyaloy, 19 state University of Bangladesh, 16 in Northern University of Bangladesh, etc. As there is no session-jam, students complete their courses in time. Besides, because of no campus violence, quality of some universities, smart and speedy disposal of business in PUs these factors are attracting the foreign students.
It was asked to the respondent whether the university has any permanent recruitment policy. In reply, 70% respondents replied positively and 30% respondents gave different comment. This portion said they did not know whether they have any policy. In case of second statement, 80% teachers said they had to face a selection process. Most of them told, that was not so tough. Half of them told they knew it that they would get appointment; selection process was just to maintain the criterion. Among the respondents, 20% said they did not face any test. They join there as per contact, personal link and communication, previous linkage in public university helped to join them etc. those who attended written or oral test most of them were junior faculties in lecturer position. From there the open ended question about selection process, some comments have been given below; From newspapers advertisement applied for the post. Attended an interview session and authority offered me to join. In the mean time negotiation about salary packages is completed; Met the head of the department and he selected;
Dropped CV and faced VIVA;
Attended written and oral test;
Presentation on given topic and faced interview. Presentation was done through a seminar and interview by a panel consisting senior faculty members; Procedures are just a formality;
Written, demo presentation, viva-voce, etc.
Satisfaction level in present faculty recruitment system: 30% respondents are equally satisfied and dissatisfied at their level of satisfaction. The large portion, 40% are neutral at their satisfaction level and no respondent has been found strongly satisfied or strongly dissatisfied
Reports and information are collected from interview of the higher authority executives of the universities. On the basis of collected materials a table was developed about the existing faculty members including full-time and part-time faculties, working in the universities.
Table shows that the universities are maintaining good faculty-students ratio. This ratio is expressing better position than the public university. According to UGC report, in 2008 faculty student ratio in Public universities was 1:70. But in reality, in Private Universities near about fifty percent teachers are part-timer. Most of them come from the public universities. Basically public sector is the provider of quality teachers for private institutions.
Another table given below shows the academic degree of the faculties. Information collected from survey, respective university, UGC, interview with university executives and collected papers from universities.
Table expresses that faculties with PhD degree are mostly coming from outside. They involve in teaching as a part-time faculty. One university has 111 part-time and 51 full-time faculty having PhD. Two universities have 7 and 6 PhD holders respectively. In case of qualified and experienced faculties they look for higher degrees (PhD, MPhil, MS), number of part-time faculties is more than full-time faculties. Other than higher degrees, the quantity numbers of faculties are dominated by the full-timers.
Senior faculties with higher degrees are mostly coming from out-side, they are not full-time faculty. On the other side, ratio of experienced full-time faculty is lower than part-timer. At the junior level, the ratio is in favor of full-time faculty.
Surprisingly 60% faculty members who are the respondents said, existing teacher’s quality is not enough to ensure education quality. 30% admit QE can be ensuring with existing teacher quality. Most of the teachers said, as experienced and senior teachers are mainly part-time faculties, they are not serious enough or they have no responsibility to enhance institution’s quality. On the other side those who are full-time faculty, are mostly junior and inexperienced. Universities have no program to develop teacher’s quality, no facility to conduct research. Even, a small portion said they have some teachers who are not fit for a university. They have very week academic result, having no experience to use modern education materials in the classroom. Even have they do not any communication skill and ability to impart knowledge.
Ninety percent (90%) respondents said, university has a permanent salary structure for faculty members. Among the respondents more than fifty percent told, problem is in implementation of the structure. At the time of senior and experienced faculty the recruiting authorities are relaxed about the structure. Some universities do not show one’s pay package to another. They maintain a very confidential pay schedule. Some respondents’ said, with same quality and degree and same position, lecturers are getting different amount. In case of foreign faculty, the authority described their facilities including salary, yearly increment and other allowances in contract paper.
It was asked to the respondents, financial conditions and salary packages were mentioned in their appointment letter? In response eighty percent (80%) respondents were informed salary packages were mentioned in their offer letter or appointment letter. But some respondent said authority does not follow it later. They are not getting that are supposed to get. Sometime faculties receive payment in installments, in some cases salary are not given regularly. Respondents said, those have bargaining capacity and scope, authority behaves very nicely with them.
Satisfaction level of full-time faculties on salary-package: Among the full-time faculty, 25% respondents are equally satisfied and dissatisfied about their salary package but large portion of the respondents (33%) are in neutral position. 17% respondents are strongly satisfied and no respondent were strongly dissatisfied.
Forty percent (40%) respondents do not know whether university has any prescribed promotion policy or not. Among those who have no idea about the written promotion rule, 75% are permanent faculty. 50% said they have permanent promotion policy and 10% said they did not have. Promotion policy is related to permanent faculty. Major portion of faculty comes from the public universities in lien. After lien period they return to the mother institutions. Most of the assistant professor and lecturer category faculties work there as a spring-board. They search better facility inside and outside the country. They are looking for scholarship. So, they are not very much concern about promotion.
Those who are dedicated to the institutions their experience is not so impressive. Some lecturer and assistant professors said, there is no smooth way for getting promotion. Persons have reference from directors, founders, political authority, senior faculties and influential part of the society gets preference for promotion.
Satisfaction level on the promotion system: Large portion of the respondents (30%) are dissatisfied about the promotion policy that are followed. Same percentage (30%) were neutral in their opinion about satisfaction. 20% respondents are satisfied and 10% shows strong satisfaction when 10% shows strong dissatisfaction in this regard.
Sixty percent (60%) respondents said their university published research journal. Among them only 10% said yearly two journals were published by the university and the rest published one in a year. Thirty percent (30%) respondents replied there is no research culture in their university and no journal is published by them. 10% respondents do not know whether the university publishes any journal or not. In response to second statement about conducting research after joining university 50% respondents replied negatively and 30% said they have conducted research project. These researches they have not done in their university but did it jointly or individually for pursuing higher education. Still research is not an agenda in the private universities. When it was asked to tell about the research culture of the university by open ended question, they replied with different opinion, such as; There is no research facility for students;
There is no effective incentives in doing research, faculty members have to do everything on their own initiative; Moderate; actually the facilities are more or less available in terms of infrastructure, lab, library and internet usage, but, faculty members are mostly overloaded with courses and thus they do not get much time to devote to research. So, this situation must be changed. There is no culture of research;
Masters program should be research based;
Most of the senior teachers come from the public universities for a certain period, they don’t show any interest for research; Lack of initiatives A few quality students are here but they don’t try to misuse time for research, their priority is getting degree not research; No research environment,
Satisfaction level on research facilities: On satisfaction level, 40% respondents are dissatisfied on research culture and facilities that are provided in PUs. 20% respondents were strongly are dissatisfied, 10% were satisfied and 30% were neutral in their level of satisfaction.
International Recognition of the Degree of Private Universities In response of the question, whether the degree of the university is internationally recognized or not, 30% respondents replied positively and 40% said their degree is not as international standard as it has no international recognition. 30% respondents did not give any specific comment, 20% of them made comment that they have doubt about the recognition of degree and rests said it is difficult to say.
4.2.2 Student perception
Basic Information of the respondents:
To know students’ perceptions about various issues related to independent variables 20 students from six universities responded in questionnaire survey. Among them 10 students are studying lab-based courses in different semesters and 10 are studying various non lab-based courses in different semesters.
Half of total respondents (50%) replied positively when asked them whether the quality of their faculties are fit to ensure EQ and 45% replied negatively. 5% made no comment on it. Some respondents said senior and experienced faculty is in immensely needed to enrich the quality. They express their observation that the university authority appointed more junior faculty because they have to pay less on them. If the authority appoints senior faculty then may need more pay. Also they observe part-time senior faculties (who are working in Public and renowned PU) are better in quality. Sometime the authority appoints junior faculty even if not needed.
Satisfaction level about Teacher Quality: Forty five percent respondents (45%) are Satisfied, 35% are Neutral and 20% are dissatisfied about the quality of teachers. It was asked to students whether they have any faculty evaluation system in their university. In response, 70% respondents replied that they have faculty evaluation system. After completion of a course authority provide an evaluation form to the students who have attended that course. Among the respondents 30% said they have no faculty evaluation system. Those answered positively, it was asked to them whether this evaluation has any practicability or does authority take necessary action on the basis of it.
Those who are familiar in faculty evaluation, 36% of them told that the authority take necessary action on the basis of their evaluation, 28% replied their authority don’t show any honor or attention. Most of them said this just was a formality nothing more. 36% of total respondents said sometime they observe positive results of their evaluation. Some of them commented that it depends on the strengths and position of the faculty.
Hundred percent respondents said they have no any play ground. They were aggrieved at the time of reply. Among them 60% opined that outdoor games facility is badly needed for harmonious development of body, mind and soul to achieve the goal of education. Fifty five percent (55%) respondents said they did not have enough indoor games facility and 45% said they have it but it was not enough. They feel that this facility should be increased. Seventy percent (70%) respondents said they have no mosque but have dedicated room for prayer. 20% don’t know whether they have this facility or not. Survey found that these 29% respondent are Muslim. And 10% replied they have no prayer room. 5% said earlier they have one room but it was used for other purpose. Forty five percent replied that they have dedicated room for club activities and fifty five (55%) said they didn’t have. 60% respondent said they have medical
facilities in their campus and 35% replied they have didn’t. Respondents said that this facility is very limited with one doctor and one bed. As most of the campus are scattered they don’t know even the doctors’ room.
Satisfaction level on the location and arrangement of campus: Thirty five percent (35%) respondents said, they are dissatisfied with the arrangement and location of the campus. Ten percent showed Strong dissatisfaction and 25% are Neutral. Thirty percent (30%) are satisfied. Major portion expressed frustration about the location of campus. Even they have no specific place of meeting, canteen and gossiping place. Some said that they have ten legs (ten hired buildings in different locations). They raised question, how can you walk with ten legs in disciplined way?
Major portion of the respondents (60%) are satisfied on classroom facilities provided by the university. They said that classrooms are well-decorated. In classroom teaching-learning purpose faculties have option to use white-board, OHP, Power-Point, Map, Diagram, Flow-chart, etc. five percent (5%) said they have air conditioned classroom, spacious and majestic looking. 30% are Neutral and 5% are dissatisfied with classroom facilities. They said they have not enough education materials. To attend the class most of the time they have to wait in front of the door of the classroom. They did not have classroom according to demand.