Bangladesh soon to decide on method of holding university admission tests

  • Shahidul Islam, Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-10-26 17:12:54 BdST

Students took part in Dhaka University's 'A' unit admission test held in 2019.

The University Grants Commission is yet to decide on whether the public universities’ admission exams will be held online.

The UGC will soon sit with the vice-chancellors of universities to come to a decision.

“It was decided that a cluster exam will be held in the universities this time, but whether the tests will be held online has not been finalised yet,” Prof Md Alamgir, a member of UGC, said on Monday.

Although there was an initiative to hold combined exams for admission into all the universities, Dhaka University, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and Chittagong University plan to hold exams separately.

Rajshahi University and Jahangirnagar University plan to hold the same procedure.

On what could happen if the exams are not held together in the five major public universities this time, Prof Alamgir said, “These five universities have always been separate and could not be brought together.”

“Keeping them out, three clusters have been created for the universities. We are planning to hold admission tests in clusters of Agriculture, Engineering, General Science and Technology. How the exams would be held will be finalised in a meeting of the University Council.”

According to Prof Alamgir, the University Council presented the use of software to hold online exams at a previous meeting.

The final decision will be taken after the software goes through trials in different exams of public universities.

“We sent a letter to UGC and will hold a meeting again,” said Prof Mohammad Rafiqul Alam, vice-chancellor of Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, and president of the University Council.

Munaz Ahmed, VC of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, developed the software.

Prof Rafiqul blamed the academic councils of different universities for not being part of the cluster admission tests.

Although the University Council looks to hold the tests online using the software developed by Prof Munaz, UGC officials remain doubtful over whether the process will be effective at all.

An official said, “The university admission tests have to be held right after the announcement of the HSC results in December. We don’t have much time to assess how effective this software will be.”

He hinted at three cluster exams at universities in divisional cities this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 60,000 students can sign up for honours first-year admission to 39 public universities.

Students seeking a way into the graduation curriculum are forced to travel around the country to sit for tests due to the admission exams being held separately in the universities.

Sometimes studying for exams on the same topic requires different preparations for different universities. At other times, students are forced to choose between the universities before getting admitted due to admission tests being held on the same day.

Over the last few years, the education ministry and UGC are trying to establish combined admission exams for all universities in an attempt to reduce the suffering of the students and the expenses of the parents.

President Abdul Hamid, the chancellor of the universities, had also provided instructions on the matter.

But it has not been possible due to objections from major universities. In 2019, UGC held cluster admission tests for the agricultural universities.