Throwing the ball in the government’s court, Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Professor AKhteruzzaman on Thursday said the final decision to reopen the varsity’s residential halls amid Covid-19 would depend on the directives of the Health Ministry.
“The decision to reopen the dormitories before the exams has to be taken at the national level, and that too, after taking into consideration the advice of the Health Ministry experts,” the VC told a delegation of student union leaders.
“A letter from UGC on Wednesday clearly said that the halls should remain closed. However, the exams can be conducted. At the moment, reopening an educational institution is a national decision. But we do not want to go beyond that and put the nation at risk,” Akhteruzzan added.
UNB had earlier reported about the growing clamour for reopening of the dormitories in the wake of Dhaka University’s decision to hold final-year exams for honours and master’s programmes from December 26.
Addressing the delegation, the Vice Chancellor said, “I do not disagree with the students’ demand. But we have to take into consideration the pandemic situation. If anyone takes a hasty decision today, it could pose a huge risk to the country.”
Bangladesh Chhatra League’s (BCL) Dhaka University unit president Sanjit Chandra Das and general secretary Saddam Hussaian led the meeting, where proctor Prof AKM Golam Rabbani was also present.
Meanwhile, various student organisations of Dhaka University (DU) on Thursday continued their protest, demanding residential facilities before the commencement of exams.
Activists of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Parishad staged a protest, demanding reopening of dorms, adherence to social distancing norms, security for examinees and a separate corona unit at Dhaka University’s medical centre.
Bin Yamin Molla, one of the key leaders of the organisation, said they would continue their protest until the reopening of the dormitories. He also demanded digital devices and data pack for students facing problems in attending online classes.
Salman Siddique, president of the Socialist Student Front’s DU unit, said, “Most students of the university live in villages, and they cannot afford to stay anywhere other than the halls. So, we demand immediate reopening of the dormitories.”
Later, they took out a protest march from Student-Teacher Centre area and submitted a memorandum to the Vice Chancellor. Other demands of the students include waiver of extra session fees and penalty for late fee payment.