National University established in 1992 primarily with a view to improving the standard of education at the tertiary level in the colleges of the country, is located at Gazipur district about 35 km away to the north of Dhaka city. Unlike other public universities of the country, National University conducts its academic programs through its affiliated colleges. Its functioning is defined by the National University Act 1992.
The Act No 37 passed by the Bangladesh Parliament in 1992 allows the National University to affiliate colleges, frame curricula and syllabi, look into development and dissemination of knowledge, provide teaching and research facilities, hold examinations, and confer degrees. The President of Bangladesh is the Chancellor of the university. The main functionaries are the vice Chancellor, two pro-vice Chancellors, the deans of different schools, the Registrar, the Inspector of Colleges and the Controller of Examinations. The most important statutory bodies of the university are the senate, the academic council and the syndicate. Although a public institution, most of National University’s funding comes from the fees taken from its affiliated institutions.
As in other public universities, academic divisions of the National University are not organized in terms of faculties. According to its regulation, the university has three academic units – 1) School of Undergraduate Studies, 2) School of Post Graduate, Training and Research and 3) Centre for Curriculum Evaluation and Monitoring. Each academic unit is led by a dean. Academic programs are organised centrally and are directed to be carried out by the affiliated institutions spread all over the country.
The School of Undergraduate Studies looks after the tertiary level education in the affiliated institutions on the basis of the rules and regulations framed by the Academic Council and Syndicate. The most important activities of this school include admission, registration, examination and other related task. There are two types of Bachelor degree programs: 1) three years Bachelor (pass) degree and, 2) four years Bachelor (honors) degree. For getting admission into a Bachelor (pass) degree program students are required to pass Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination. While for a Bachelor (honors) degree program undergraduates should enroll in a major discipline of an affiliated institution through a highly competitive written admission test conducted centrally by the National University. Most programs are organized by yearly semesters, though there are some programs like BBA, Fashion Design, Garments Manufacturing Technology and Merchandising, and Computer Science use two semesters a year.
The School of Post Graduate Training and Research is responsible for registration and admission for Masters and Professional academic programs. Masters programs under the National University are of one or two years in duration and are carried out by a select number of colleges. On the other hand, this school conducts professional studies by institutions such as Law colleges, BEd colleges, Fine Arts colleges, different Military Academies eg Bangladesh Military Academy, Bangladesh Naval Academy, Bangladesh Air Force Academy, Marine Fisheries Academy, Defense Services Command and Staff college, National Defense college etc. Besides, it also organises regular training and research programs like MPhil and PhD.
To ensure and improve the quality of teaching offering foundation training and different in-service subject based trainings are integral part of this school. Besides, in view of the current national concern for the use of digital devices in every sphere of socio-economic life the university has undertaken ICT training program to acquaint the teachers with the latest ideas and technologies so that they can prepare their students to face this competitive world and open new horizons of knowledge.
National University does not have a wide range of research programme. However, it offers MPhil and PhD programs mainly for the teachers of the affiliated colleges. This is the only degree oriented academic program conducted' by the university from its main campus and is carried out by five academic groups such as Arts, Social Science, Natural Science, Life and Earth Science, and Business Studies. Since 2006 National University is carrying out this program for the academic and professional development of the teachers of the affiliated colleges.
The National University publishes four bi-lingual journals. These are: Journal of Arts, Journal of Social Science, Journal of Science, and Journal of Business Studies. Normally, teachers and researchers of the National University and its affiliated colleges are encouraged to contribute to these journals. Besides, National University also publishes a bulletin entitled The Link, which brings important events and activities of the university to the notice of the university community and related people and institutions.
Under its jurisdiction, the National University has nearly 1472 general degree colleges, 248 colleges teaching Honors and 99 Masters colleges, 71 Law colleges, 120 Teachers Training colleges, 31 Physical Education colleges, 2 Music colleges. The university is a large community of about 68 thousand teachers and teaching BA, BSc, BSS, (Pass and Honurs and Pass), MA, MSS, MSc, MCom, BEd, BPEd, LLB, BBA and other courses. About 1.2 million students study in its affiliated institutions. Centrally, the National University has now 78 teachers, 669 officers and 992 staff members. [Md Anawar Hossain and Mobashera Khanam]