Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the government will stop providing funds to public universities if their teachers do not stop provocative activities to take their students to a wrong path in the name of movement.
‘The government will stop all funding...why should the government provide funds, these are autonomous institutions. Now, you have to think, what you will do,’ she said.
The prime minister said this while addressing the 13th council of Jatiya Sramik League at historic Suhrawardy Udyan.
No one will ever accept taking students to a wrong path through provocation and uttering crunchy words, she said adding, ‘If it’s done then (you) have to find your own funding, you’ve to manage your own salaries, you’ve to bear your own costs for study,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League chief, said the students of the public universities can purse their higher education as the government allocates funds for their universities through the University Grants Commission.
‘No country in the world provides higher education at such a low cost... it’s true the autonomy is there but who’s paying the money? It’s the government,’ she said.
Hasina mentioned that it is the government that provides salaries and wages for the public university teachers and tuition fees of their students.
‘How much a student spends on his or her study a year? It’s hardly Tk 150! Is this possible to get higher education paying this petty amount of money?’ she asked.
The prime minister asked the students to go to private universities to see how much they spend for just one semester. ’The government spends Tk 2-2.5 lakh for each university student...the amount is higher for engineering and medical students. All the money comes from the government.’
The prime minister said discipline must prevail in public universities, students must get their due and appropriate lessons and they must build their lives in a better way.
‘We seriously want that, but we see some people saying we don’t understand public universities are. As if it is they who only understand it and they ensure indiscipline,’ she said.
Hasina said this section of people is destroying the academic activities and working hours of the students engaging them in strike for days. ‘All the money will go from the government, all the development activities will be done by the government and this section of people will feel very good accepting that. And the government will not be able to take any step...this is not acceptable at all. There is a proverb, freedom is good, but it is not for the boys,’ she quipped.
About raising allegations against anyone, the prime minister said as per the law it his/her duty to prove it who raises the allegation, and if that person fails to prove that then steps can be taken against him as per the law.
Turning to government steps taken for development in different sectors, Sheikh Hasina said that the government has changed fate of people implementing massive programmes for the welfare of the garment workers, labourers of industries and farmers of the country.
She said her government has so far raised wages of the workers by 380 per cent three times increasing the amount to minimum Tk 8,300 and it is rare in other parts of the world.
In this regard, the prime minister called upon all including leaders and workers of Jatiya Sramik League to work unitedly for establishing Bangladesh as the most developed and prosperous country in South Asia.
Chaired by Jatiya Sramik League president Sukkur Mahmud, the function was addressed, among others, by labour and manpower affairs secretary Habibur Rahman Siraj, state minister for labour and employment Begum Munnujan Sufian, ILO country director Tuomo Poutiainen, general secretary of the ITUC Asia-Pacific Shoya Yoshida and secretary general of South Asian Regional Trade Union Council Laxman Bahadur Basnet.
Awami League general secretary and road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader attended the programme.
Sramik League general secretary Sirajul Islam delivered the welcome speech while executive president Fazlul Huq Montu read out the condolence motion.
Earlier, the prime minister inaugurated the council of Sramik League through hoisting the national flag with national anthem playing. She also released pigeon and balloons. She also witnessed a colourful cultural programme.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh MujiburRahman founded the Sramik League in 1969 aiming to protect the rights of workers.
The last council session of the Jatiya Sramik League was held seven years back on July 17, 2019, when Sukkur Mahmud and Sirajul Islam were made president and secretary, respectively.