Students of IBAIS university, which the University Grants Commission has recommended for shut down, are worried about their future as all operations of the university, including certificates, were declared illegal.
"We did not know about the problem of the university. But when we learnt of it the university authorities assured us that they would resolve the problem," said Rashik Kamal, an MBA student of the University.
"We will be the losers and our future will be in danger if the university closes down," he said, urging the government not to close down the university.
Mohiuddin, another MBA student, told The Business Standard, "We will not get the MBA certificates and even our BBA certificates will be rendered invalid if the university closes permanently.
"If it is mandatory to close down the university, the government should arrange another university for us to continue our studies," he added.
IBAIS University was running with at least 4000 students under 6 departments from 2002 to 2012. A good number of students graduated from the university and it had everything, including a legal administration and a government approved curriculum.
In 2012, the university became embroiled in a conflict over its trustee board. It started carrying out academic and administrative activities without the approval of the UGC.
Two groups, claiming to be members of the trustee board, lodged cases with the High Court against each other. Since then, they have been operating two separate and illegal campuses (Dhanmondhi, Uttara), although the Dhanmondi campus was declared closed temporarily.
Now the university has only 200 students with 20 teachers. But the UGC declared all activities of the university, including certificates issued, since 2012 null and void.
Finally, the UGC has recommended to the Education Ministry the closure of IBAIS University immediately as the institution has failed to fulfil the conditions regarding the running of a university.
The UGC subsequently removed all information about IBAIS University from its website and placed three red marks beside the name of the university.
In a probe report, the UGC said, IBAIS University does not follow the Private University Act 2010 and it is involved in many irregularities, including certificate business.
The UGC found that the university has no legal address, authorities, and administration to conduct academic activities. So the UGC suggested that the Education Ministry take stern action against those running the university.
The report says the university will destroy many students' futures if its academic activities go on.
"We suggest publishing a public circular through the national print media on not admitting any students at the university," it says.
UGC Private University Division Director Md Omar Farooq told The Business Standard that the commission has sent the report to the Education Ministry recommending action against the university.
UGC sources said the university was established in 2002 and got temporary certificates for five years. According to the Private University Act 2010, a private university is given temporary permission to run its academic activities.
Within seven years of getting the temporary approval along with a five-year grace period, the university should have its permanent campus and meet other conditions to carry on academic and administrative activities. Otherwise, academic activities, including enrolling new students, will be automatically closed.
But IBAIS University did not apply for a grace period or for permanent certificates.
According to the probe report, the UGC team found two chairmen of the university named Jakaria Linkon and Sowkot Aziz Rasel. The UGC team tried to talk with them but failed.
Jakaria Linkon and Sowkot Aziz Rasel filed several cases against each other in the High Court. But they operate academic activities at the Dhanmondi and Uttara illegal campuses.
Therefore, action can be taken against Jakaria Linkon and Sowkot Aziz Rasel for establishing the campus without the UGC's approval, said the report.
IBAIS University has had no vice-chancellor, who is also president of the syndicate, since 2012. The syndicate approves academic and administrative activities, budget, recruitment, exams and results. But all the work has been illegal since 2012. Therefore, the exams and results as well as the certificates provided to the students have no legal basis.
Sowkot Aziz Rasel told The Business Standard that the university has been closed temporarily.
Jakaria Linkon claimed that he is the legal authority to run the campus and he is also operating a campus at Uttara. But he admitted that he did not get permission to run the Uttara campus.
According to Jakaria Linkon, there are 200 students with 20 teachers at his Uttara campus. The campus also has three faculties and six departments.
"I have lodged five cases against the Education Ministry and UGC. No one can close down the university without the court's concern. I hope the court will allow me to operate the university," he said.
Adnan Noor, a former student of the university, said the former and current students of the university need recognition.
"We have no objection to the closure of the university but the government must ensure who will take responsibility for us," he said.
Md Jahid, another former student of the university, told The Business Standard the ex-students need to get certificates and other documents from the university.
"But we did not get them as the Dhanmondi campus has been closed down," he said, adding, "Many of my batch mates could not go abroad for studies as their certificates could not be verified. We are also facing many problems when we submit our certificates for jobs."
UGC Director Omar Farooq said, "The students can be transferred to other universities if the ministry closes the university. We will do everything in the greater interest of the students."
Syed Manzoorul Islam, noted educationist and former professor of Dhaka University's English Department, told The Business Standard that the government should check the solvency of the initiators of any private universities. The trustees should know it is no business centre."
Professor Md Alamgir, member of the UGC, told The Business Standard that the UGC is now working to find out the sub-standard private universities.
"We will recommend the closure of all bad performing universities and those in breach of laws. We have already identified some universities and will disclose the list soon," he added.
There are 108 private universities with more than 3.5 lakh students in the country.
Md Abu Yousuf Miah, additional secretary (University) of the Secondary & Higher Education Division, told The Business Standard that he will implement the UGC's recommendation if the report is authentic and logical.
It may be mentioned that the government had shut down Darul Ihsan University in 2016 in line with a High Court order that declared its academic activities illegal.
The government launched a judicial investigation headed by Justice Kazi Ebadul Haque to inquire allegations of "certificate business", ownership dispute and many other irregularities in 2010.
The committee recommended the shutdown of the university in 2013. In 2014, the UGC alerted students and guardians about admission into it.