File photo of pro vice-chancellor, Prof Dr Nasreen Ahmad
Dhaka, Mar 8 (UNB) -There is no way to deny the fact that higher education for women is one way among many others for their own progress and for that of society as this year’s International Women’s Day’s theme says, ‘Press for Progress’.
And in continuation of the progress of Bangladesh, Dhaka University has seen a rise of women’s participation and leadership over the years having 31 percent of female teachers now.
When the Dhaka University, the country’s top most institution for higher education, started its journey in 1921, there was no female teacher or student.
But, gradually, the situation changed and took a great turn in 2009, when the number of female teachers saw a significant rise.
For the first time in its 96-year history, Dhaka University now has a female pro vice-chancellor, Prof Dr Nasreen Ahmad. She has been working as Pro-VC (Academic) since June 6, 2012.
According to the DU administration, the total number of teachers at the university is now 2012, including 630 women.
In the last eight years, the ratio of male-to-female teachers’ appointments has increased to a large extent as a total of 621 teachers were appointed to the university during the period of 2009-2017. And of them, 195 were women. Now, the ratio between female teachers and their male counterparts is 1:3.18.
Former Vice Chancellor of the university Prof Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique said teachers are appointed to the university based on merit.
Besides, those who are more skilled and competent in making presentation are given priority, he said adding that the university authorities never appoint any teacher on special consideration, he said.
The former VC said their female teachers are enough qualified and meritorious. “These days women are outshining their male counterparts in all the sectors like politics, economics, education and administration,” he added.
At present, the heads of DU’s 16 departments are women. The departments are Economics, English, History, Psychology, Bangla, Music, Dance, Chemistry, Microbiology, Fisheries, Education and Counseling Psychology, Geography and Environment, Meteorology, Robotics & Mechatronics Engineering, Television, Film and Photography and Art History.
Besides, five institutes -- Education and Research (IER), Institute of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Social Welfare and Research Institute, Modern Language Institute (ILM) and Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies -- have got female directors.
More importantly, female teachers are now more active in teacher politics than in the past. Prof Najma Shaheen led the pro-Awami League Blue Panel of the university teachers for a long time.
Under her leadership, the panel won 33 seats out of 35 in the last senate election held on May 22 last.
The Blue Panel also swept all the 15 seats in the last election to the Dhaka University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) held on December 8 last under her leadership.
Riffat Ferdous, the head of DU Television, Film and Photography department, said the stereotype concept that women are weak and that they cannot take challenges has become obsolete. “They (women) have proved their worth in all sectors.”
Women are going ahead on all fronts, she said hoping that the women power at the university will encourage other fellows across the country to come up.
Prof Sadeka Halim, the first elected female dean of Social Sciences Faculty, said women are competing with their male counterparts in all sectors of society, and now the DU has a large number of female students as well as teachers.
Though the university began its journey without any female teacher and student, now it has about 40 per cent female students while 31per cent female teachers.
Mentioning that the university has no quota system for girls, Sadeka Halim said they are admitted for their merit.
According to a report, the university has got over 32,000 students, including 11,000 girls, after 2015.