Due to coronavirus, like all educational institutions, academic activities of private universities are closed. They have asked the government for an incentive package to offset the losses caused by the shutdown.

This application has been made so that the salaries of 25,000 teachers and staff can be paid for at least six months without taking tuition fees from the students.

APUB, an association of Bangladesh private universities, sent a letter to the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Wednesday.

They have also promised to return the money in installments within three years once the situation returns to normal.

APUB Chairman Sheikh Kabir Hossain said,

“We expect a positive response from the UGC as the existence of many universities is under threat.”

He added,

“We have not mentioned the amount of money yet, because we are estimating it.”

All the educational institutions in the country have been closed since March 17 and in a few steps, it has increased till May 5.

On April 29, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that if the coronavirus situation does not improve, all educational institutions will remain closed till September.

According to the letter, their main source of income is tuition fees received from students. Due to the situation created due to coronavirus, private universities are not charging any tuition fees as they are closed following government instructions.

The letter further states that admission is another major source of income for universities. Admission is also closed now due to UGC directives. As a result, the funding crisis is increasing in universities. Newly established universities will suffer the most.

“We have received the letter,” UGC chairman Professor Kazi Shahidullah told The Daily Star. We will send a letter to the Ministry of Education soon. ‘

He said the issue was discussed at a meeting of Education Minister Dipu Moni, top UGC officials, vice-chancellors of several public and private universities, and APUB leaders on Thursday. The minister said he would look into the matter later.

UGC acting secretary Ferdous Zaman said the meeting decided that private universities would not press students or their parents for tuition fees during the ongoing crisis. It was further decided that the university authorities would pay the salaries of the teachers and staff regularly.