Dhaka | Wednesday, September 27, 2023 A


DU holds credit of introducing higher education in Bangla

2021-07-04 09:38:06 BdST

2023-09-27 00:38:26 BdST

Published: 2021-07-04 09:38:06 BdST


Live Correspondent: The Dhaka University holds the credit for introducing higher education in Bangla medium which is an epoch-making step to allow students in receiving tertiary education in their mother tongue.  “Dhaka University solely holds the credit of bringing Bangla language in higher education in the country,” noted academician Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique told journalists in an interview today as the DU marked its 100th founding anniversary on Thursday.
Highlighting the importance of providing higher education in the mother tongue, he said: “If we see the statistics of the Nobel Prize from its introduction in 1901 to 2020, we will find that the countries which bring scopes of receiving higher education and conducting research in the mother tongue, remain ahead in the race of winning the prize.”

 Prof Arefin, the former vice-chancellor of DU and a communication expert, said whether it is the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Russia, or Japan, where there are vast scopes of education and research in the mother tongue, students and researchers do better jobs there.

Noting a quote from Rabindranath Tagore’s article “Shikkhar Bahan” (Medium of Education) that “So far we have not been able to say with confidence that we will give and can give higher education in Bangla and only then the outcome of education will flourish all over the country”, he said behind the establishment of Santiniketan, Rabindranath dreamed that higher education should be offered in Bangla.

Rabindranath referred to imparting higher education in the Japanese language in Japan in his article mentioning that the holding capacity of the Japanese language is not stronger than Bangla as Bangla has immense strength to create new words, he said.

Prof Arefin underscored the need for writing textbooks, articles, and research papers of higher education in Bangla to make the optimum utilization of higher education for the country and its people.

The DU will have to play a role to organize higher education in a way that upholds the individuality and uniqueness of the Bangalee nation as only the Bangladeshi universities would work on the flourishing of the Bangla language and no other university in the world will do that, he mentioned.

Prof Arefin, also chairman of the board of directors of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), said DU teachers and students had played a pivotal role and made supreme sacrifice in the movement of attaining the dignity of Bangla as a state language of this soil.

In the same way, he said, the university would have to play a pioneering role in the coming days to make Bangla one of the rich and dignified languages and mediums of education and research in the entire world.

Referring to giving importance to Bangla by DU, he said Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, the first Bangalee to hold India's highest constitutional post, was invited to join the 47th convocation of DU as the convocation speaker on March 4, 2013.

Mentioning that the then Bangladesh President and DU Chancellor Mohammad Zillur Rahman chaired the convocation, the former vice-chancellor said it was a rare incident that two Bangalee presidents of two nations shared the stage in a convocation at the DU.

While talking to journalists before leaving Dhaka at the airport, Pranab Mukherjee extended thanks to DU saying that he had to join many convocations but the DU had brought the opportunity to deliver a lecture in his mother tongue Bangla, he said.

He recalled that when Justice Abu Sayeed Chowdhury was the vice-chancellor of DU during Pakistani rule, he introduced delivering convocation speech in Bangla at the university. Not only making Bangla a state language, but also the activities of using Bangla in every sphere of life are being revolved centering the DU, he said.

Prof Arefin said If Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not assassinated on August 15 in 1975, the compulsory introduction of Bangla in every sphere of life from high court to higher education would have been done by this time.

The academician laid emphasis on enhancing inter-faculty linkage at the university bringing opportunity and flexibility for students of a faculty to take a course of another faculty meeting the demand of the 21st centenary where a student of literature can take a course of science or vice-versa.

“In this modern era, we are noticing that an arts faculty-student could have the knowledge to resolve a technological problem. So, the students should be ensured that opportunities,” he said.     

On the occasion of the centenary of DU, Prof Arefin paid tributes and heartfelt gratitude to first DU VC Sir Phillip Joseph Hartog as he took the decision of making the DU a general university.

When Hartog came to Dhaka to join the DU VC in 1920, the elite society figures of Dhaka met him and suggested making the DU a science-based university like MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) as there was a general university in Kolkata, he said.

But PJ Hartog moved away from the decision of making a science-based university after thinking thoroughly and decided to begin the journey of DU as a general university having three facilities--science, law, and arts.

“Now we can realize that if the university wasn’t made a general one, it might have not produced such socially responsible students and teachers who played pivotal roles in different democratic movements of the country,” he said, adding that now even MIT is offering other courses apart from science and technology.     

He said the country’s premier educational institution DU played an extraordinary role since its establishment on July 1 nearly 100 years back, contributing to social progress, cultural expansion, and politics of this soil as well as expansion of women education.

The university, which started its journey with only a single female student, nowadays witnesses a scenario where female students are exceeding their male counterparts in getting chances for admission into the university, a significant milestone in women education, he said.

At the outset, the number of female students was very few but now female students are almost half of its total, he added.

"In the 1940s or 50s, there was a trend in the university that female students would enter the classroom after the teacher's entrance and then male students would enter. After the end of classes, at first female students would leave the room and then the teacher would come out followed by males," he said.

Giving an example of some social conservativeness during that period, the educationist said, even the proctorial rules of the university had a custom of imposing fines if male or female students talked to their opposite genders.  

Prof Arefin, also a professor of mass communication and journalism at the DU, said a student entered a university after being an adult and such severe conservative behavior and superstitions were made with adult university students during that period.

"So, from that position, we have come to today's position and the contributions of Dhaka University behind the massive change will never be denied," he said, adding that these are some examples of the university's contribution to social progress but it had an extraordinary role in the field of politics too.

He said the university students had laid down their lives for attaining recognition for their mother tongue and its teachers and students embraced martyrdom unflinchingly to attain independence of their motherland.

"It is our pride that our Father of the Nation and the architect of independent Bangladesh was a student of the university. Since his student life at the university, he waged different movements and struggles and prepared his fellow students in such a way that it resulted in 1952 that they remained ready to lay down their lives for what . . . for saving their mothers, mother tongue, motherlands," he revisited the history.

He said these were the mindset of the students that mother, mother tongue and motherlands are indistinguishable and integral; and Bangabandhu and the university students had played a pivotal role in infusing that spirit among the people and that is why they got ready to embrace martyrdom to free the nation and the soil from the long subjugation of Pakistani oppressors.

Amid that glorified chapters of the university's 100-year journey, there were some painful, sorrowful, and regretful events too, for example, the person who is the Father of the Nation and who led the nation to attain independence of that soil was expelled from the university on Mach 26 in 1949, along with a few other fellow students, he said.

Prof Arefin said young Sheikh Mujib, who was a student leader of that time was permanently expelled from the DU, by the then university authorities under the direct order of the then government, for expressing solidarity with the movement of the university's lower-salaried employees who were subjected to different discriminations in the newly independent state during that period.  

His expressing solidarity with the movement of the fourth class employees was very logical but it was seen as an "offense" by the then authorities, the ex-VC said, adding that when Bangabandhu was leaving the university he said he would again come back and he truly came back to the university not as a student but as the chancellor.  
He said Bangabandhu had done a remarkable job by giving the Dhaka University Order, 1973 that ensures the autonomy of the university abolishing the black law that was enacted in 1961 by Ayub Khan.

Dhaka, 03 July (campuslive24.com)//BSC


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