When will the elections to Dhaka University Central Students Union (DUCSU) be held? Why hasn’t it been held for so long? And it’s not just DUCSU. Student union elections in all educational institutions around the country have been held up. The students of today, will run the country tomorrow. They will be the leaders. What do we expect to achieve by keeping them away from the student council election and this democratic practice?
It is really ironic that the DUCSU elections were duly held during the undemocratic rule of Pakistan and the military rules of Ziaur Rahman and Ershad, yet came to halt with the arrival of ‘democracy’ in the nineties. No government over the past 27 years has taken initiative to hold the DUCSU elections. There is no sign of any such election being held in the near future. Teachers’ association elections, officers’ association elections, employees’ organisation elections, all are held, but no elections for DUCSU or any other student union.
Dhaka University Ordinance 1973 specifically speaks of student union representation in different facets of running the university. Yet this is being continuously ignored.
If the students attempt to raise these issues, the situation they have to face was glaringly evident on the day of the vice chancellor panel election in the senate. The students had been demanding representation in the senate, but the teachers obstructed them in a most indecent manner.
In March this year, the president spoke at the Dhaka University convocation, and highlighted the importance of the DUCSU elections. He said, “DUCSU election is a must. Unless there is an election, a vacuum in leadership will appear in the future.” He said if the foundation of democracy is to be strengthened, honest and competent leadership must be developed. Student politics would build up such leadership. The president’s words explicitly indicate that by holding up the student council elections, the country is being taking towards a vacuum in leadership.
The reason behind the stand of the post-90’s governments concerning elections to DUCSU and all student unions, is clear. The incumbent governments are never confident that the student organisations of their respective camps will win. Yet in the terms of each government, the ruling party student organisation wields its clout in the educational institutions. They become embroiled in clashes and conflict on their own accord.
The general students are becoming conscious about the DUCSU polls. There can be no further delay. We hope the Dhaka University authorities take all necessary measures to hold this election. They must also take initiative for student council elections in all educational institutions for the sake of democratic development and growth of leadership. Let it begin with DUCSU.