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Friday, May 25, 2007

Private Games People Play in Private Universities

A classic case of principal-agent clash is going on in private universities in Bangladesh. The founders/directors of universities are tightening their grip on teachers whom they hire with high salaries. Someone mentioned that IUB requires new teachers to sign bonds as long as 3 years, so that recruited teachers can't switch to better paid offers. Management in AIUB gives more importance to its Administration than to its teachers and they are also coming up with innovative ways to keep students second, teachers last. Word is in the air that North-South University is also a hotbed for teacher-admin bureaucracy. Its common knowledge now days that private universities are there to make more money for its owners and directors at the cost of students' money. So if you are planning to teach in private universities, plan beforehand when you want to jump and surprise your controllers.



3 comments:

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Ifti Rashid said...

Having served as a Lecturer in the School of Business, Independent University (Bangladesh) since 2005, I could not disagree more with the assumption that “founders/directors of unviersitities are tightening their grip on teachers”. While this may be true in the case of some private universitities, I feel it is wrong for you to make hasty generalizations in respect to IUB. In this respect, it is very disappointing to see that you have relied entirely on hearsay to substantiate your allegations in the “Private Games People Play in Private Universitities” recent posting in the Bangladesh Corporate Blog website.

I have worked for IUB on both temporary and regular contracts, but never heard of any obligation to sign a 3-year bond. I was not required to sign any such bond and never heard of my colleagues being required to do so either. In fact, this is the first time I have heard of any obligation. Under such circumstances, I can assure you that the allegation of the mandatory 3 year bond is unfounded.

I joined IUB after completing my undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Australia. Similarly, many of my colleagues joined IUB after finishing their degrees in the United States and United Kingdom. For many of us younger academics, IUB provided us the opportunity to return to our homeland after our degrees instead of looking for greener pastures abroad. We have returned to Bangladesh and joined IUB to pursue a meaningful academic career that can contribute to our own professional development as well overall social development. In fact, I believe that private universitities like IUB are playing a valuable role in reversing the “brain drain” that we have experienced in the preceding decades.

I have found working for IUB to be highly fulfilling and rewarding. In my experience, I have found the senior management and administration to be very supportive of the personal and professional development of the academic staff. The university has nominated and funded many young academic staff to participate in training programs to increase our knowledge and exposure. In fact, the senior management of the university has consistently encouraged us to undertake research activities related to our academic interests. We have received all forms of guidance, support and encouragement in building our research profile.

Moreover, I have found the IUB senior management to be highly receptive about innovative academic initiatives taken by teaching staff. I was involved in a collaborative initiative to sign a MOU between the Group of 5 (IUB, NSU, BRAC, EWU and AIUB) on mainstreaming corporate social responsibility in the academic curriculum. We have received various forms of internal training for our capacity development, while we have been involved in almost all aspects of academic decision-making. Recently, the academic staff was taken to a retreat for the purposes of team building and exchanging academic ideas with the administration and staff. In all cases, the university has encouraged strong communication between management and teaching staff.

As an young academic, I found teaching in IUB to be both enjoyable and gratifying. Though the salary is high and competitive in relation to other private universitities, most of us continue with IUB for the fulfilling working environment and not necessarily only the financial compensation. This is why the question of a 3-year bond is absurd, as we remain part of the university out of our own choice due to the positive academic environment and not any mandatory requirement or coercion. To its credit, IUB has given us the space, freedom and opportunities for intellectual growth and professional development.

Lastly, I strongly disagree with the inference that teachers are neglected and “private universitities are there to make more money for its owners and directors at the cost of students money”. IUB does not belong to this category. In fact, IUB has encouraged various academic and research activities that benefit students, staff and communities alike. It has also initiated a number of innovative academic programs to meet the needs of both industry and society.

For many of you who may be considering to return to Bangladesh to pursue an academic career in an institution that values intellectual development and research, IUB is your choice. I will request the author of the blog to please rectify the negative inference on IUB from his posting.

arman.ifti@gmail.com

(The author of this comment is currently on study leave. This comment has been written on his personal capacity. He is solely responsible for any viewpoints expressed in this comment)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ifti for your enlightening clarification regarding IUB. It is true that what was written about IUB in the article was based on rumours and not on evidence. So apologies for generalizing the assumptions. However, the main objective of the discussion was to encourage debate, constructive contradictions to facilitate further clarification of facts, which you have perfectly done.
As the blog is a free platform of expressing opinions about Bangladeshi corporates, I am afraid nothing can be rectified. But we can surely continue debate and discussion in a positive manner. I appreciate and expect your participation in the blog more and I assure you that assumptions (on IUB and others) will be attempted to be based more on facts rather than on fiction. Thanks again.