Quality Assurance in Private Universities of Bangladesh: An Enquiry Into The Desired Level of State Intervention
Bangladesh with its poverty stricken economy coupled with large population base has no choice but to transform its people to skilled human resources through education, in general and higher education, in particular.
As the cost of providing higher education has risen to a very high level, it is no longer possible for government to provide higher education to all. Due to budget constraints new universities cannot be established at government initiative. So the government of Bangladesh looked for private participation in this sector as a ...view middle of the document...
So keeping the assurance of the quality of education in mind, it is a timely question to resolve that what should be the desired level of state intervention in the affairs of PUs and conversely what should be left within the jurisdiction of the promoters and University Management
Private universities are relatively recent arrivals as an actor in the higher education of the country. The government started permitting Private Universities (PU) to operate since 1992 under the Private University Act 1992 with an aim to meet the increasing demand of the higher education of the country. Within a short span of only thirteen years the number of PUs increased phenomenally to fifty-three. One estimate postulates that these universities currently enroll around 10 percent of the total University students in the country. (Haider 2005).
The introduction of PUs is considered as a breakthrough in the province of higher education in the country as it paves way to bring about dynamism and flexibility in the system. It accompanies some obvious benefits over the existing public universities, like, introduction of semester system with continuous evaluation, which make it more comparable to the international standard, maintenance of academic calendar, ensure politics and violence free campus and more responsive to the market demand. It could also slow down the large-scale exodus of students to foreign countries for higher education drastically.
On the other side, gluts of complaints are also pronounced against the PUs. The most allegations against the PUs are: exorbitantly high cost, which prohibit the lower and middle class people to have access to this system, space constraints as most of the PUs operate in rented buildings, excessive control of the sponsors in internal management of the university - sometimes called sponsor-syndrome in governance, poor quality intakes, too much dependence on part-time teachers, poor library, laboratory and other logistic supports etc are to mention a few. Consequently, the quality of the education is not upheld by most of the PUs. Even it is alleged that some PUs are mere certificate-selling centres in disguise of University and making money through unfair practices.
A survey conducted by Mamun and Das (2000) on TQM practices in Private Universities in Bangladesh by using Malcom Baldrige Quality Framework and Quality Function Development (QFD) technique found that the private universities were performing below the standard average. Though few of them were a little above average, but in general, each of the universities had a lot to improve. The areas where the universities were particularly weak in performance were Human Resources Development and management and customer focus and satisfaction. They were doing average in the areas of quality and operational results, leadership, information and analysis. In the areas of management of process quality and strategic quality planning the performance was a...