The issue of killing of BUET student Abrar Farhad is not limited to the process of punishing the culprits only. Saying this, economist Wahiduddin Mahmud expressed serious concern at the poor state of higher education in the country. In his reaction to the murder inside a BUET dormitory posted on the social media, the former Dhaka University professor raised three questions: One, how did the partisan student leaders perceive that someone having a dissent over national interest could be harassed, let alone murdered? Two, why are the authorities not well aware that they bear all responsibility of administrative guardianship of the students at the dormitories and that there is no scope for undue interference from the partisan student bodies? Three, how will we be able to exercise free thinking in society and improve quality of education and research if top posts of the higher educational institutions including universities are filled with people having unconditional loyalty to a party? Has anyone noticed that with one or two exceptions, none of these appointees has internationally recognised publications and since they have no such research accomplishments, the criterion for appointment has virtually changed? One can search at www.scholar.google to find out how many of their publications are cited globally.
Finally, Mr. Wahiduddin Mahmud noted, "Have we ourselves ever evaluated where we have brought down the quality of our education, compared to the ones in neighbouring India and other developing countries? No matter how the arrangement for ruling the country is made, don't we want to understand our socio-economic development will not be possible if we can't stop the downfall of our higher education?" The questions asked by the senior economist need to be answered, if we want to correct the situation. Hopefully, no other student would have to face the consequence of Abrar, if campus is peaceful and a peaceful campus is possible, if the entire focus is on 'education and research', the avowed purpose of founding universities in Bangladesh in the last century.
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