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Hartals and their effect on education

  • Published at 01:48 pm May 26th, 2013
Hartals and their effect on education

One of my friends’ Facebook status on Friday read: “My daughter is upset. On the very first day of her final exam, BNP has announced they will enforce a general strike. She asked: Do our politicians think about the students?”

Well, she, my friend’s daughter, is not the only one who’s scheduled to appear in exam on that day; there are millions more just like her. The media has already talked a lot about this issue and about the violence that has been forced on the nation. It’s not only the present opposition; when the current ruling party was in the opposition, it had orchestrated similar programs.

It’s evident that general strikes along with political violence have been taking a quite toll on education in the country. Students of schools, colleges and universities have been affected, as they haven't been able to attend their classes on a regular basis. Candidates from different disciplines have been failing to complete their curricula before the exam. At the same time, exams are not being held as scheduled. In order to cover for the losses, the institutions have been compelled to organise classes and exams on Fridays and other national holidays.

Students from English medium schools have a worse experience to share. Due to the general strikes, their exams are being scheduled at odd hours – actually in the middle of the night.

It has been also reported in the media that English medium exam authorities are considering moving all O and A-level exam centres from Bangladesh to neighbouring countries. The process has already started. Hundreds of Bangladeshi English medium students have already travelled to Kolkata and other Indian cities for exam registration.

They, along with a parent, plan travel to that country when it’s exam time.

How demeaning! The students can’t sit for tests in their own country! Reality forces them to go to another country for a simple exam and spend extra money, which everyone doesn’t have.

Having said this, we must remind our political leaders about their own rhetoric – “The young generation is the future." We still hope they mean what they say. Indeed, the youth are the future of the nation, and for them to step into their destined role; we have to create an atmosphere where they are allowed to become the future. To some of us, love for the country is actually displayed when someone truly cares for education.

In this context, we have to remind our democracy-mongers what happened during the military dictator Hussein Mohammad Ershad’s regime. All students at universities during that time were pushed to complete their four-year masters courses in eight to nine years. Every Bangladeshi who spent time at university then still begrudges the then ruler, who said his actions were for the sake of the country. And that’s how the then youth lost four/five years from their lives.

What a high cost for making the country democratic and prosperous!

Now, we don’t need another gloom cast over our education and the young generation. No one should assume that this young generation is similar to that of Ershad’s time; this generation is different, much more knowledgeable about the world, the country and quite adamant about what they want to be.

Should we be held responsible in the future for the losses that these youths may incur for our actions today? Please think about it.  

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