It is usual that the doctor who kills his/her patient with wrong treatment, is a murderer; similarly the lawyer who regularly loses the case is infamous to the clients and obviously, those teachers are the most ignoble whose students complain against them. The society considers teachers the most respectable people but how far they remain esteemed if they are involved in ignoble activities? Teachers are the models to their students and the society.
However, more often the students of these days are blamed that they are not as sincere to their teachers as those in the previous times. But do we ever think that the reasons of their being ignoble are their own creations? There are some teachers who remain at our hearts permanently. Contrarily at every level of education there are many teachers who tarnish the image of the teachers with their ignoble activities.
Recently, the autocratic manner of a university teacher has caused huge criticism amid the country. The accused is Farhana Yasmin Baten who is a teacher of Rabindra University performing the responsibility of the Chairperson in the Department of History, Culture and Bangladesh Studies. She also holds the post of a member of the proctorial team as well as a syndicate member.
According to media sources, on 26 September, the teacher Farhana Yasmin Baten was standing with scissors and stopped the examinees at the entrance of examination hall, whose hair was long. This autocratic teacher humiliated 14 students cutting their hair and amid such an unbearable humiliation she also compelled her students to sit for exams. Not only that, she insulted one of the students for posting the hair cutting incident on social media and threatened to expel him from the university.
The message clearly indicates how powerful the teacher is! She has no shame or repentance on doing such an offence, rather has warned her students to expel from the university. It was unbearable to face the humiliation for the students and one of the students found no ways except attempting to suicide by consuming 35 sleeping pills in his room at Shah Makhdum Hall the following day.
Again it seems surprising when we see the smiling face of the accused teacher during talk show on Ekattor TV. She had no remorse on her face as if she had the authority to do such a shameful offence and nobody would dare to protest her. The question is pertinent to raise; does she have the right to hold the post of a teacher at the highest echelon when she remarks about her students that she is doubtful of students whether they have come to study.
How a teacher remarks about her students in such a manner is really frustrating. She went on telling lies to restore her position. She claimed that no such incident had taken place and the allegations brought against her were part of conspiracy. The thing is really surprising that does she really understand what is the existence of a teacher without students? But her attitudes indicated that she is the opponent to students.
The public universities in the country are enjoying autonomy. But in the name of autonomy do the teachers have the right to be dictators before the students? Certainly, they must not be. But it is common to notice that many are doing power-exercise making the life of the learners a mess. More often we hear that female students are being sexually harassed by some ignoble teachers in the university. Not only that, many teachers are involved in corruption and unethical practices.
According to the report of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) in 2016, corruption was rampant in the recruitment process of lecturers in the country's public universities. The study also found instances where teachers engineered academic results of students favored by them so they would later be recruited as lecturers.
In many cases the question may raise; are they teachers or political leaders? There may be many university teachers who hold ranks and fames but hardly involve themselves in teaching students. At the eleventh hour of the exams they take one or two classes and complete the course. Cannot it be called power-exercising? Obviously, they are doing the game of power-exercise as if they had no accountability to the state.
However, it is good to see that for the case of forced hair cutting of students at Rabindra University the authority has found the involvement of the teacher Farhana Yasmin Baten in this offense and immediately suspended her. Again a probe committee has been formed with five members headed by Chairman of Rabindra Studies department Laila Fardous Himel for investigation into the incident. We hope that the real truth will come to light and the accused must be punished. Otherwise, if the accused goes unpunished, more instances would happen continuously and the autocratic manner of university teachers would be justified.
Writer: Alaul Alam teaches at Prime University. He is also research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]
BDST: 1328 HRS, OCT 02, 2021