English Medium Students:
Unlocking the Barriers in Public Universities
When I was doing my O Levels, I used note books or copies where the word 'University' was written on top. Honestly speaking, whenever I saw that, 'University of Dhaka' always came to my mind. When I was done with my A Levels, I was in quite a dilemma about my higher studies. Initially I wanted to go abroad but later I decided to stay in Bangladesh and go for the best university of the country, evidently, my choice was University of Dhaka (DU). As I wanted to pursue a career in business and had already concentrated in Business Studies in my A Levels, I wanted to get into DU's Faculty of Business Studies (FBS) or Institute ofBusiness Administration (IBA).
Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. courtesy: IBA
For English medium students, coaching was available for IBA but finding a test preparation centre for FBS was vey difficult. A frightening thought started gnawing at me -- only Bengali medium students get into University of Dhaka. Moreover, the admission test was fiercely competitive with more than 30,000 candidates competing for those 930 seats. Like other English medium students, I did not have any clue on how to tackle the entrance exam.
Just as anxiety was setting in, I came across an organisation on Facebook called BridgeWee; I found that it prepares English medium students for DU and BUET admission tests. Moreover, it was managed and run by English medium students studying in DU! After learning about the admission procedure and the prospects of English medium students in DU, my fears began to subside. This fear haunted me for months as I dreamt about studying in the most prestigious university of the country.
When I started to prepare for FBS, some questions came to my mind. We are all aware of the political chaos and session jams as two of the biggest havocs of DU. But I later found out that there were no session jams in DU's FBS and other top departments like Economics and International Relations.
As the clocks ticked, the exam day crept closer -- first IBA and then FBS. I was satisfied with both the exams. After that came the nail-biting wait for the results! Unfortunately I couldn't make it to IBA. However, when I saw that I got into DU's Faculty of Business Studies, I was on cloud nine as I got into one of the best subjects FBS offers Finance. I secured 117th place among 32,868 candidates from all over Bangladesh! I was ecstatic. My dream, as well as my parents', had come true, and I kept thinking that it would not have been possible without BridgeWee.
After attending the first few classes, I realised why DU is considered the best university in Bangladesh. Our professors are inspiring and the environment is a thrilling one -- with the state of the art technology and amazingly talented people all around. In fact, teams from FBS are always doing well in various student competitions. My department won The Battle of Minds this year and two teams from FBS have qualified for the grand finale of the HSBC Young Entrepreneurs Award this year. Six other English medium students from my batch were also accepted in FBS. We have proved the fact that public universities are not for English medium students was only a myth. It is time to discard one's misconceptions about public universities and step up to secure his or her place in the country's best institutions. All you need is determination, courage and the right guidance.
(The author is a student of Department of Finance, University of Dhaka)