Dhaka University is an autonomous research university in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. It is one of the most prestigious universities in Bangladesh and an internationally acclaimed institution for higher education.
Dhaka University operates under the executive control of the Ministry of Education (MOE) acting through the University Grants Commission (UGC). The UGC is headquartered in Panthapath, Dhaka. The current chairman of UGC is A. K. Azad Chowdhury. Former Premiers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia are also credited with establishing DU as an autonomous body through presidential orders on 1 July 1992 and 15 January 1995 respectively; although it has been a public university since 1992 when Professor Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique was inaugurated as Vice-Chancellor by the government.
Dhaka University is organized into 11 faculties, 70 departments and institutes, 1 School of Law with 19 departments, 3 Institutes of Information Science & Technology with 7 departments, 2 Schools of Physical Sciences with 17 departments at 6 campuses in the city. It has a staff of 1320 (academic-1157, non-academic-163). There are 7750 undergraduates and 1608 postgraduates (total 9658 students) on the campus.
The new campus is located beside the Faculty of Engineering, Dhaka University with two same buildings for law faculty as well but they are situated just behind the building in which the DU registrar’s office is situated now.
The reason for not placing these two faculty buildings inside the campus was because it is easier to manage with the registrar’s office being in between them.
Dhaka University has a history of student protest and activism beginning with the Language Movement, which motivated Bengali students across East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to join together and fight for the recognition of their language as an official state language. Since then, student politics has remained an important part of social life in Dhaka University. On 19 February 1969 when Sheikh Mujib declared one unit, protests began at DU and other places in East Pakistan. In that time, a place called “Resistance Square” was named by these university students after facing police brutality. Professor Humayun Azad organized all students against this brutal force peacefully but in midnight on 21 February, police came and took Prof Azad away. Many students of Dhaka University sacrificed their lives including Abdus Salam, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, and Abul Barkat (professor).
Dhaka University is also a center of student activism for free speech and human rights issues in Bangladesh. The university is well known for hosting political rallies and meetings. It has been a venue for major political events including protests against military dictatorships (1975–1981) and in favor of restoring democracy (2007–2008). In 1978, it became one of the first universities to establish a Students’ Centre under an elected Student Union which organizes various cultural events. Dhaka University is by the pro-vice-chancellor under the government.
The university has a socio-economic view on society, as it is often the center of socio-political movements in Bangladesh. In 1969 after the language movement, students started to organize themselves into political groups. The then Vice-Chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique took initiative to support democracy and freedom by establishing an elected Student Union in 1978 but after six months he was replaced by Pro-VC under Martial Law Regulation 1972 promulgated by General Ziaur Rahman. His faculty adviser Professor Humayun Azad formed a democratic group with student united front named Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (DUCSU) and other left-winged student groups while this was declared illegal by the state for being communist students organization under section 3(2) of the University Grants Commission Ordinance 1979.
Dhaka University has a Centre for Advanced Studies in International Law (CASIL), where teaching focuses on international law, comparative law, public international law, constitutional and administrative law. Dhaka University is the only university in Bangladesh that offers postgraduate work in Public International Law. CASIL organizes a moot court competition at the university level every year. CASIL also conducts an annual workshop with a select group of students to prepare them for the Hague Academy of International Law summer program.
The university’s School of Biological Sciences began classes in 1984 as one of several research-oriented schools established by DU after it received funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Organized under the Faculty of Sciences, it was founded with three departments: Botany, Zoology, and Biochemistry. It was part of a plan to establish specialized research centers within the university.
The School of Physical Sciences was established in 1992 with the aim of promoting interdisciplinary teaching and research in physics and astronomy. The three departments were housed under one roof at a new building situated on Hill Road. The department has introduced advanced courses in physics and astrophysics for students who have ambitions to pursue higher studies abroad. In 2002, it set up an astronomical observatory near Dhaka so that undergraduate students can undertake their practical training there.
In 2016 the “Centre for Good Governance” (CGG) was established by DU authority and now currently running some of its faculty members as managing directors. With the help of its partner in London, CGG is offering an MSc degree program entitled “Masters in Good Governance” (MiG). According to the website for the Centre, it offers an opportunity for both Bangladeshi and international students to pursue a unique management-based postgraduate program that “provides current and future leaders with insights into how to successfully lead within all aspects of public service.” The course offers courses on topics such as ‘Good Leadership and ‘Financial Accountability’ etc. which appears to be popular among people who are working abroad or want to work in the public sector after completing graduation from DU.
The university has eight residential halls: Sher-e-Bangla Hall, Shahidullah Hall, Sar war Hall, Titumir Hall, Bangabandhu Hall, Bijoy Sharani hall (also known as Old Dhaka Hostel), and Begum Badrunnessa Ahmed Residential Hall for women. The halls are governed by the “Dhaka University Central Students’ Housing Board”, which consists of students elected from each hall.
Sher-e-Bangla Hall is named after A. K. Fazlul Huq, who was a former prime minister of undivided Bengal and an early chancellor of the university. These residential quarters were dedicated in 1979 to the memory of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy who was another prime minister during British rule in India and also a renowned political leader and lawmaker within his time.
The building is located opposite the Bangla Academy on the University Road and was designed by architect Kamrul Islam Bishwas. The indoor games arena in the hall has a badminton court, table tennis room, snooker room, card rooms as well as few carom boards. There are two squash courts and an outdoor football ground along with a gymnasium for sports. Sports activities of Sher-e-Bangla Hall include Football, cricket, volleyball, bridge, etc. These activities are organized under the “Sher-e-Bangla Hall Athletic Association”.
Titumir hall was named after Khwaja Abdul Hamied (known as Titumir), who was one of the greatest fighters in the war of independence in 1971. The building is located on the north side of the university premises near Varendra Research Museum and was designed by architect Harun-ur Rashid. Each floor has two residential wings, consisting of one or two bedrooms each, a toilet, kitchen, and living room. At present, there are three dining halls within the hall which can accommodate 200 persons at a time. Sports activities include football, cricket, volleyball, and table tennis among others. There is an active students’ organization known as “Titumir Hall Athletic Association” (THAA), which organizes an annual sports fest named “Titumir Martyrs Memorial Athletics Meet”.
Shahidullah Hall was named after Maulana Abdul Hamied Khan Sha heed, who was one of the pioneers of modern education in Bengal. It is situated on the south side of the Dhaka University premises and it contains two residential buildings, which are divided into three parts by east-west and north-south corridors. There are two dining halls within the hall for students. North wing has a large ground where sports activities like football, cricket, volleyball take place. The southern wing has a tennis court and table tennis rooms for indoor games. Sports activities include football, cricket, volleyball among others organized under “Shahidullah Hall Athletic Association”.
Begum Badrunnesa Ahmed Residential Hall (BBRH) was named after Begum Badrunnesa Ahmed who was a former lawmaker from erstwhile East Pakistan, and the first female minister in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s cabinet. The building is situated on the south side of Dhaka University near the chemistry department and contains two residential buildings similar to that in Titumir Hall. There are two dining halls within the hall for students. At present, there are four semi-circular balconies facing north at each floor in the BBRH-1 building while a non-functional indoor handball court lies inside one of them.
The university has five academic buildings which accommodate classrooms: “Tahmina Momtaz” (built by Khwaja Shahbuddin), “Tahmina Begum” (built by Khwaja Shahabuddin), “Shahidullah Faridi”, “Ahsanullah School of Engineering” and recently the addition of a new building titled ‘Miracle’.
There is also a sports field, home to the football team. The university has 12 departments under 4 faculties. It also runs 3 other campuses in Mohakhali, Panchbibi, and Khilgaon and one college named Dhaka City College (DCC). The DCC campus contains the department of Business Studies as well as Computer Science, which is affiliated with Dhaka University. The central library was established at the beginning in 1921. It is now divided into two parts: the old Library Building in Shahabuddin Avenue and another adjacent modern four-storeyed building in Bashundhara near the Physics Department. It has a collection of about 300,000 items including bound volumes of journals and magazines, rare manuscripts, photocopies of documents written in different languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and English. In addition to that, the library subscribes to 130 current periodicals and journals in different languages every year.
The university is now governed by six separate bodies:
Under these bodies are 22 faculties with over 70 departments in which about 15000 students and 3000 teachers are enrolled. The total number of staff members is nearly 3500. Many professors from this university played an important role in the politics and education field of the country earning a high reputation at home as well as abroad. Some renowned scholars associated with Dhaka University are Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Fazle Hasan Abed, Badruddoza Chowdhury, Salimullah Khan (minister and ambassador), Kabir Chowdhury Maya Angelou, Al Mahmood Ali (diplomat), Rafiq Azad (national poet of Bangladesh).
A degree from Dhaka University is accepted as a master’s degree or doctoral degree by universities in the UK, America, and Europe. It is also one of the most prominent universities in Bangladesh.
The university has 11 residential halls for students: five for male and six for female students. Each hall provides residence to about 400-700 people with separate rooms for male and female students within the halls. There are two mosques and ten other halls for teachers.
These residential halls contain a playground, an assembly hall, dining facilities, a cafeteria, shopping centers (supermarkets), recreation areas (game rooms) and reading libraries.
In conclusion, it can be said that Dhaka University is one of the most renowned and oldest universities in Bangladesh. It plays a vital role in improving our education system by providing quality higher education to thousands of students every year.
The following are notable alumni, teachers, and students associated with the University:
Nobel Laureates: Muhammad Yunus, Abdur Rahman Biswas, Shimul Yousuf and Anisuzzaman
The following are notable teachers associated with the University:
Mir Ahmad Shahidullah (linguist), Abul Kasem Fajlul Haque (linguist), Zakir Hossain (linguist), Mir Abdul Qayyum(linguist), Shamsuddoha Pundit (writer and historian)
Mohammad Shahidullah (linguist)and Mahmud-uz-Zafar.
The university’s official website offers a list of all notable alumni which can be found at . http://www.du.ac.bd/documents/About%20Dhaka%20University/Notables%20of%20Dhaka%20University-3rd%20edition-2010_1_.pdf