Prof Mesbah Kamal of Dhaka University’s History department on Saturday said their university is gradually turning into a ‘higher madrasa’ with the annual enrolment of 60 percent students from such backgrounds.
“Dhaka University is becoming a higher madrasa which we in no way can accept. Now around 60 percent students of Dhaka University are coming from madrasa with poor English background,” he said.
Prof Mesbah came up with the comment while speaking at a discussion-cum- launching programme of a book, titled ‘Political Economy of Madrasa Education in Bangladesh’, at the Jatiya Press Club.
Prof Dr Abul Barakat of the university and others wrote the book based on their research works.
Prof Mesbah said the madrasa students are increasingly getting chance to get enrolled in the DU due to its existing faulty enrolment examination system.
As per the existing system, he said, 80 numbers are counted from a student’s average mark he or she obtains in HSC and SSC examinations.
The DU teacher said usually madrasa students get much higher number in the two public examinations -– Dakhil and Alim equivalent to SSC and HSC –than general students as their teachers are very generous to awarding number without considering quality. “The students of HSC and SSC have to struggle much to get good number. That’s why they’re falling behind the madrasa students during the admission test.”
Prof Mesbah observed that the overall quality of the higher education is falling as huge number of madrasa students with poor quality and inadequate English proficiency are getting admitted to the DU and other universities.
He said many students from general education are now getting deprived of higher education due to the faulty admission test system at universities. “We should look into the matter.”
“We don’t want Dhaka University to turn into a senior madrasa. We also don’t want the entire education system to suffer for low-quality madrasa education. We must bring madrasa education into the mainstream education,” the DU teacher observed.
He said the government must increase funding to establish its control over the madrasas so that students get modern, science-oriented and pragmatic education.
Mesbah said madrasa education spread alarmingly during the two military rulers — Ziaur Rahman and HM Ershad — on political ground.
Prof Barakat said madrasa students are getting admitted disproportionately to some departments of the Dhaka University as they are enjoying the advantage of their Dakhil and Alim examination results.
Quoting DU’s Law Faculty Dean, he said 78 percent enrolment at Law department last year was with the students having madrasa background.
He said the country’s every third student is a madrasa student and the salutation is worse than what was in Pakistan era.
The total number of the madrasa students was around 1 crore in 2008 which now stands at around 1.5 crore. Of them, more than half are studying at Qawmi madrasahs, where there are neither rules and regulations nor government control.
There were 52 lakh students in Qawmi madrasa in 2008 which is now over 70 lakh.unb