Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Bangladesh To Ban Politics On Campus

The Bangladesh government is drafting a bill that will outlaw politics in the nation’s public universities and colleges.

The government has initiated a move for a permanent ban on politics of students and teachers in public universities and colleges, in a significant bid to restore proper atmosphere for education.

Since January 11, all political activities have remained banned under the emergency rules while the University Grants Commission (UGC) is drafting a law that will restrict politics in educational institutions even after the state of emergency is withdrawn, sources said.

The education ministry that directed drafting the law, identified students' and teachers' politics as a major obstacle to suitable atmosphere for education.
I won’t be the first one to say that this is a welcome development, but only to a point. Politics on Bangladesh's university and college campuses are often raucous, riotous affairs: something akin to mini-civil wars, and disruptive to the point of paralysis. The political parties do nothing about it because they themselves behave in the same obnoxious manner!

Nevertheless, the goal of this law, it seems, goes beyond banning politics on campus, but infringing upon student’s rights to free speech and freedom of assembly. The caretaker government, in my opinion, is overreaching its authority. The goal of the law should not be to simply ban politics on campus, but to curtail it to such an extent that it ceases to be a malignant influence on campus life that it presently is.