Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Editorial: Welcome moves to free teachers and students

Restoring proper campus atmosphere is necessary

In response to family demand backed by the public, the government has released convicted teachers of Rajshahi University following presidential decision. That they are finally free is commandable.We are also happy to learn that moves have got underway to free the detained teachers and students of Dhaka University. The fact that such steps are now being taken following discussions between the Dhaka University Teachers' Association and the authorities is a matter of relief for the country. It is so because the nation can now look forward to a proper and necessary resolution of an issue that has been agitating minds over the past many months. We believe that it is a positive development and everyone aware of the priorities before us at this point can move on to everything else that needs to be done in the greater national interest.

It should be obvious to everyone today that the process of consultative engagement, in this case between the DU authorities and the government, is working and that both sides have been able to demonstrate a degree of understanding about each other's concerns. That is surely to be appreciated. One is certainly happy that the DU teachers, who wore black badges as they went about their work on Sunday, were willing to give space to the government on the issue of the detained teachers and students by opting to suspend their agitation for a fortnight, within which period the detained individuals are expected to be freed. We may mention here that earlier we wrote two editorials on the subject of the detained teachers and students wherein we had unambiguously advocated a dignified and amicable resolution of the issue. Happily for us, just such an approach has now been taken in dealing with the problem, one that we believe will prove useful in promoting rec-onciliation between everyone involved in it.

Teachers in Bangladesh have traditionally been the recipient of respect and honour in society because of the invaluable contributions they make to the education of the young. In these past many months, the manner in which some of these teachers, all honoured for the degree of wisdom they have displayed in imparting education to their pupils, have been treated has left the nation worried. That worry can only be rolled back through all of us, in every stratum of society, making sure that dignity and respect are restored to our teachers. At the same time, we expect that with the freeing of the teachers and the students, a proper, peaceful academic atmosphere will return to universities all over the country.

Our teachers and our universities are our pride, for patently historical reasons. Which is why we hope that such conditions as those that have seen some of them subjected to the humiliation of detention will not recur.

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