Students' performance in the Dhaka University (DU) admission tests has been poor yet again, as in the past few years despite a growing number of GPA-5 achievers at the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations each year.
A total of 2,70,000 students took part in the admission tests in 5 units. Of them, only 10.23%, or 27,488, qualified in the test for 6035 seats.
A total of 95.26% students passed this year's HSC and equivalent examinations all over the country this year. Of them, 1.89 lakh students have achieved GPA-5, which means a student obtained 80% marks in all subjects on average.
Such poor performance by DU aspirants has been the trend over the past many years. In 2014, the DU English Department could pick only two eligible students for admission.
Admission tests carry 120 marks – 60 marks for multiple-choice questions, 40 for written test and the remaining 20 marks on the basis of candidates' SSC and HSC results.
Admission tests for science groups take place under the "Ka" unit, for humanities under "Kha" and for business studies under "Ga" unit. Students from every discipline can take tests under "Gha" and "Cha" units.
According to Dhaka University sources, 55% of the students failed in English in Kha unit, 76% in Ga unit and 54% in Gha unit.
The pass rate in general knowledge has been very poor this year, with only 36 % of students passing in Kha unit and 31 % in Gha unit admission tests. On the other hand, students did better in Bangla as 51 % of them passed in Kha unit and 57 % in Gha unit.
Education experts see in the test results a clear outcome of the poor quality of education at schools and colleges in the country.
They have also put these poor pass rates down to admission seekers' lack of adequate knowledge in basic subjects. DU sources said most of the admission seekers failed in English and general knowledge.
Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury is of the view that educational institutions are incapable of preparing students for higher education as teachers fail to impart proper teaching to them.
"Even teachers are not being recruited on the basis of merit and are not even getting proper training. The education system is actually deteriorating day by day," he said.
Professor Siddiqur Rahman, former director of the Institute of Education and Research (IER) at Dhaka University, told The Business Standard, "The government as well as the education ministry should concentrate on ensuring quality education. Otherwise, it will be tough to face future challenges," he said.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni on Wednesday said the universities are trying to get meritorious students in their classes.
"Many try to enrol at Dhaka University but a good number of them after failing to qualify try other universities," she said.
Professor AKM Maksud Kamal, pro-vice-chancellor (Academic) at Dhaka University, told The Business Standard that the university always tries to get the best students through a standard admission test.
"We did the same this year," he said.
Prof Md Mustafizur Rahman, convener of the online admission committee at DU, told TBS that admission seekers are evaluated in a transparent way.
"Basically we have no intention to see students fail. We provide marks to them based on what they deserve," he added.