Ashraf’s Column

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who should be made a vice chancellor?

A vice chancellor is the academic and administrative CEO of a university. To understand the great importance of the post one must know what the principal function of a university is. Like all other educational institutions a university also propagates knowledge. But a university is different from all of them for a unique role it plays. A university creates knowledge, others do not. Therefore, a vice chancellor himself must have an outstanding academic career. He must have the academic excellence to create knowledge by carrying out research work himself in his own field of knowledge. He must also be able to provide leadership and guidance to other research scholars under him. The universally accepted yardstick to measure such academic competence is the number publications he publishes per year in internationally reputed professional journals.

The next qualification required of a vice chancellor is his administrative ability to efficiently handle matters related to general, financial and academic administration. All professors with academic excellence cannot make good vice chancellors. But all vice chancellors have to be academicians per se.

In a society like ours for a head of an educational or religious institution it is not enough to be firm and fair. S/he must also look firm and fair. S/he cannot be a political activist or conduct himself like a trade union leader. S/he cannot allow herself/himself to be carried away by any kind of sycophancy. Otherwise he is not acceptable to all his students and colleagues who will naturally be holding different political, social and religious ideologies. To be so a vice chancellor should be a person who is well known for his/her qualities of head and heart. In our country all our public universities have been having chronic problems of mismanagement, ill discipline and, most important of all, intellectual bankruptcy. Because, most of the time wrong persons were made vice chancellors purely on political considerations. Almost every time competence was the casualty.

One may argue that it may not be possible to get vice chancellors with the above mentioned qualities. To them I humbly suggest to look for the CV/ bio data of the vice chancellors of the universities in our neighboring country India. It is available on their websites.
To the best of our knowledge UGC, or any other authority, has never audited the academic works of our public universities. Tax payers of this poor country have never been told how many professional papers to create knowledge have been published by different departments/faculties of a public university in a year. We never knew how many such papers have been published by an individual before he was made a vice chancellor or a pro vice chancellor.

It is good that after a long unusual break of two years we now have an elected national parliament. Through the courtesy of this column of your esteemed daily may I request members of the parliament to find out through the ministry of education the number of professional publications our public universities have earned every year in the last 25 years. I would also request the appointing authority to let the people know about the academic career and the number of professional publications to their credit of the persons who have just been appointed as the vice chancellor and the pro vice chancellor of Dhaka University, my alma mater, the Oxford of the East.


  • Funny that this 'chatter-box' Brig has an opinion about everything, from appointing peons to VCs!!!

    It would be good to see someone reviewing his appointment in the armed forces!!!

    Anyway, at least the editors to whom this knee-brained writes to have some common sense for not publishing such meaning less bitching!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 7:33 AM  

  • I can just add that this First Anonymous is not only a shortsighted person but also lack maturity in thoughts and behavior. The First Anonymous is most likely a foot-brained eccentric person who only learnt the art of personal attacks in the name of commenting on argument. Personal attack to author not his argument is basically taste of First Anonymous corrupt and irrational mindset when s/he badly failing to grasp the essence of the subject matter. I don’t blame him much as our own dear Khaleda Zia being a national leader also fails to acknowledge that her owns sons misdeed and shamelessly keep extolling them in public.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11:01 AM  

  • Note for 2nd Anonymous... so far this brig bitched about appointment of VCs, Judges, Doctors & some other appointments. I still don’t see him advising on appointing Army Chief!

    And on top, this Brig doesn’t even know that all the VCs appointed so far in the universities of Bangladesh have high number of research publications in journals of their related fields.

    Following this brig’s previous write-ups, anyone can see that he argues strongly in favor of Army rule; & against the politicians, including Shiekh Hasina. Now he is being a hypocrite and softened his tone towards the Prime Minister, & advising about reforms!

    There was no personal attack from me to the brig. I am just following his write-ups!

    And his unnecessary comments towards Begum Khaleda Zia, & her two sons (who are yet to be found guilty in a court), when the brig himself didn’t make any comment in his write-up, amuses me; honestly!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11:34 AM  

  • To the personal attack liking First Anonymous:
    Your point is good: Brig, the author may propose here that that process of selecting an army chief would be the same, not on political consideration but on eligibility based on professional achievements, sincerity and loyalty to the nation. This is a non-personal attack type of comments I can see. Keep it up.
    Now to your 2nd comment: could you please tell this blog how many publications personally and jointly completed by AFMS Arefin or previous vc MA Faiz in their related fields? Are they members of international renounced organizations or worked as visiting professors to any other universities anywhere at any time?
    Except you, to me who is a personal attack liking author from top to bottom nowhere in this whole blog the brig advocated for military rule. Instead he talked about rule of law, social equity with gentleman like approach unlike yours. If you had read “Consequences of military rule” by this author and tried to understand author’s argument rationally then you won’t be able to make such irrational comments after all. I am sure the “Consequences of military rule” won’t be taken easily by generals in Bangladesh also if many of them have the same irrational mind like you (1st anonymous).
    Comments on khaleda zia and her two thugs (sons) are just appropriate as people already have the perception of these two goons. If you can have perception of this brig here then it is fair that people can have their own ideas on khaleda’s two goons and I am sure you already found the answer of that in recent election. No matter how loudly you say Tarique and Arafat Rahmans are not thieves, very few only will buy that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 1:23 PM  

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