University Grants Commission

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University Grants Commission (UGC) established in 1973 under the Bangaldesh University Grants Commission Ordinance, 1973. Attached to the Ministry of Education, UGC is headed by a chairman assisted by five full-time members and nine part-time members. Three of the part-time members are Vice-Chancellors of different universities nominated by the government, three are university professors and deans nominated by the representing universities and the rest three include the secretary, ministry of education, a member of the Planning Commission and a representative of the Ministry of Finance of the rank of a secretary. The regular workforce in the Commission comprise the chairman, the full-time members and 114 other staff, of which 33 are class-I officers and 71 are supporting staffs. The major duties and responsibilities of the UGC are to ascertain the demand for university level education, formulate specific policies for the development of higher education, determine financial demand of the universities, allocate funds from the government to the universities, evaluate development activities of the departments, institutes and other affiliated organisations of the universities and advise the government on establishment of new university and expansion of the existing universities.

In 2011, there were 31 public universities and 62 private universities in Bangladesh. The Commission is liable to submit to the government an annual report on the public and private universities as well as on developments in higher education sector and the report is to be presented in the Parliament. The Commission finances various research projects in three major areas: arts and humanities, social science, and science and technology. It determines the standard and equivalence of the foreign degrees. Since 1977-78, the Commission has introduced 'Junior Research Fellowship' for encouraging teachers of the universities and colleges to obtain PhD degree. In 1990, the name of the fellowship was changed to 'UGC PhD Fellowship' and the current (2011) number of the fellows under the programme is 64. In addition to this, 4 Nazrul Fellowships for PhD programme and 20 UGC MPhil Fellowships introduced in 1990 and 1997 respectively. In 1982, the Commission formed a Research Assistance Fund to provide support and cooperation in the research activities in the higher educational institutions, especially in the universities.

The Commission also introduced a UGC Award in 1980 with a view to encouraging and giving recognition of the fundamental research work and publication by the university teachers. The number of such awards is 5, two in arts and social science, two in science and agricultural science, and one in engineering and technology. There are also 49 UGC Merit Scholarships for the university-level students. Further, the Commission has collaborative arrangements with various foreign and international agencies for creating opportunities for the country's university teachers to receive higher education. The UGC nominates university teachers for attending seminars, symposiums, workshops, etc organised by various international organisations at home and abroad. The Commission also deals with the SAARC Chair Fellowship and Scholarship and exchange programme for cooperation in science and technology between Bangladesh and Japan through the JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) programme.

The Commission supervises the Institute of Scientific Instrumentation (ISI), a national organisation established in 1975 to prepare technical workers and skilled engineers capable of maintaining and repairing the highly expensive and delicate scientific instruments used in education and research on science and technology. [Swapan Kumar Bala]