The proposal of the education minister that there should be no age limit in higher education on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the physics department of Jahangirnagar University on November 4 could be a good step if implemented. The minister says that no one should be excluded from public universities so that the scope of higher education can be widened. She rightly said that regardless of age, people have the right to education if they pass the entrance exams. But for qualifications that need to be proven in entrance exams, there should be no other barrier to higher education. The laws in place so far allow at most one or two chances to enter public universities under a certain number of years. There is no age to learn education, especially higher education, because such a barrier is a discrimination against people from the lower class of life. Anyone who feels comfortable to start the educational process should be able to enter universities at any age, not only in government but also in private universities. Tertiary education authorities should give the idea a chance.
Higher education, which creates knowledge, teaches skills and promotes core values such as freedom, tolerance and respect, is ageless and provides inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning. Sustainable Development Goals. Education managers must ensure that higher education institutions are easily accessible, while ensuring that enrollment is affordable despite government demands to increase public spending. Government policies should be aimed at providing financial support to make higher education participation affordable, but without encouraging over-education. But the minister did not seem right when she criticized the decision of the education administrators of four autonomous public universities not to go for what they termed ‘cluster’, ‘uniform’ or ‘combined’ entrance exams. Efforts to admit students to universities through a combined examination seem to be centralized, against university governance and therefore against academic freedom. The Dhaka University Order 1973, for example, empowers the Academic Council to appoint an Admissions Committee to admit students to the university. Any unified exam leaves no room for universities to make any difference. Requiring all public universities to take a unified examination reflects the violation and the universities cannot choose which students to admit.
Therefore, it would be a good move if education administrators could lift the age limit for higher education and make university education accessible without discrimination. It would be great if they could increase government spending and make university education more affordable. And, in no way should they lay their hands on the academic freedom of public universities refusing admission through ‘combined’ entrance exams.