The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked the vice-chancellors of 45 public universities to make a list of needy students to provide them with smartphones.
It issued a letter in this regard signed by Public University Division Director Md Kamal Hossain, said a UGC press release on Sunday.
Students can also apply to the UGC directly through this address email@example.com.
On June 25, the UGC held an online meeting with the vice-chancellors and decided to provide free internet packages, and soft loans or grants to buy smartphones.
The commission also sent the recommendations prepared at the meeting to the education ministry.
Online classes were launched in public universities when educational institutions were closed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The scenario of online classes is unsatisfactory at almost all public universities, including the University of Dhaka, with education experts and teachers saying that students are facing a digital divide.
Costly data packages, a lack of digital devices – including smartphones and laptops – and the lack of availability of internet connections have been mentioned as among the key reasons behind the poor participation of students in online lectures.
In a separate letter, the UGC asked the vice-chancellors to stop all kinds of profitable business conducted by teachers and employees.
It was also signed by the public university division director.
"Teachers and employees of some public universities are operating many business centres and doing jobs at many government and private institutions without permission of the authorities concerned. This is a violation of job rules," the letter read.
The UGC also requested the vice-chancellors to take initiatives to properly implement job rules in their respective universities.