The government yesterday gave approval to seven more private universities, raising their number to 70 in the country.
The new universities are Bangladesh University of Health Science in Mirpur, Dhaka, Sonargaon University in Narayanganj, Feni University in Feni, North Western University in Khulna, Britenia University in Comilla, Port City International University in Chittagong and Khaza Yunus Ali University in Sirajganj, said a top official of the education ministry, preferring anonymity.
At present, Dhaka alone has 45 private universities. Earlier on March 14, the government approved eight private universities and another one, the university of Exim Bank, last month.
“Giving approval to new universities is more or less a regular process. Before giving the approval, we’ve considered the expansion of higher education outside Dhaka,” Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid told The Daily Star last night.
After the passage of the Private University Act in parliament in July 2010, the government decided to approve some new universities.
Soon after, some political leaders, businessmen and former bureaucrats submitted applications to the education ministry and lobbied hard high-ups in the prime minister’s office, said a competent source of the education ministry.
Of total 104 applications the ministry received, there were proposals from ruling party leaders HT Imam, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Mirza Azam and Bahauddin Nasim, the source said.
AK Azad Khan, secretary general of Bangladesh Diabetic Society, is the main initiator of the university in Mirpur.
Rashed Khan Menon, chief of the parliamentary standing committee on education ministry, and Nazrul Islam Babu, a lawmaker from Narayanganj, are the main initiators of Sonargaon University.
Khulna City Corporation Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque is one of the initiators of the university in Khulna.
Former Chhatra League leaders, including Enamul Haque Shamim, put immense pressure on the ministry to get the approval for the university in Chittagong, said the official.
Asked whether the approval was given under political consideration, Nahid said there were some political leaders who got the approval, but “we considered those places that don’t have any university.”