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The struggle for college admission

The SSC results have been unveiled for quite some time now. Many have come home with beaming faces and squeaky-clean grades. Newspapers have shot photos of thousands of students, raising their fingers in a "V for Victory" sign. Will this victory last?

The admission fever for HSC has officially started. Colleges around the country have started selling out the forms. The crowd and the queue is astounding- to place it in a single word.

However, increasingly the admission process is proving to be an uphill struggle. The fight to gain entry into many of the colleges continues, as numerous candidates compete for a single seat. Needless to say, a healthy competition is always good. But the question is whether it is in fact "healthy".

The Bangladesh Bureau of Education Information and Statistics (Banbeis) statistics indicate that 4.66 lakhs passed SSC in 2006. On the other hand, only 3.60 lakhs college seats are available. Hence, around 1.06 lakhs students may not be able to get admission in the HSC level due to the shortage of seats.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that over the last four years, the number of pupils earning GPA(Grade Point Average)-5 has escalated. This year 24,328 students achieved GPA-5. Naturally, it will be them who will get the first preference, pushing out the likelihood of admission for those scoring anything less.

"My daughter earned a GPA-5, and we were all so proud. Given her achievements, we were sure that she would get into Viqarunnisa College. But now after seeing the number of GPA-5 students also applying, I am really not so sure," said Selina Ahmed, a concerned parent. Viqarunnisa offers only 990 seats.

The primary concern is that, given the competition, even the GPA-5 students may not gain entry into their first choice colleges (usually the reputed ones). "If Shuvo fails to get into Notre Dame, it would be really difficult for him to keep up this performance!" exclaims another parent.

Protap Das, guardian of Prianka Das, who earned a GPA of 4.8 says, "Even those with GPA-5 are worried. Then what are students like my daughter to do?"

Furthermore, the competition is intense for the Science group. A recent article in Daily Star reported that 154,208 science students of SSC will have to compete for a total of 98,000 seats. Others will be forced to switch to Commerce or Humanities. To make the situation worse, most of the GPA-5 earners are from the Science group.

By contrast, the situation is completely different in places outside Dhaka. Colleges there are suffering from a surplus of seats. Most of the students with good grades are moving to Dhaka to continue their studies.

By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky

Reader’s chit
It's time for reform!

His pulse was racing and he was nervous as hell. Would he be able to make it through the dreadful traffic jam? He glanced at his watch for the umpteenth time. Adnan Rahman started to pray in silence as that's what always helped the 24 year old man to relax.

At last, he was able to make it to the Airport in the nick of time. Thanking God, he ran to complete the necessary formalities. Giving the lady in the check-in counter the required documents Adnan finally started to calm down.

After about seven minutes he saw that the lady was still fiddling with the computer. Was something wrong with the (computer) system or was she simply inefficient? After five minutes or so, there were about three staffs scrutinising his papers. What could go wrong now?

Forty-five minutes passed by. It was then that the area manager came up to him and informed him that he would not be able to board the plane. ''There seems to be a problem sir. We apologise for the inconvenience. But I think it would be best if you went to the American Embassy to clarify your identity and complete some more formalities.” The problem was that the system was rejecting the data input (necessary information of the passenger) and sending the message that this particular man may be linked to a terrorist group and might be a threat, thus he should not be allowed to board the plane.

The young man was not shocked neither was he angry. He just told them that this was not the first time he had to face such an ordeal. They all knew what the problem was, Adnan had a beard!! And that is why he was often perceived and even accused of being a terrorist.

He did what he was told and after two days Adnan Rahman boarded another plane and took off to his destination, America.

How many of our Muslim brothers will continue to suffer like this? How many more will be harassed if they happen to be named Mohammad? How many will be molested because of having a beard? And how many women folk will be mistreated for wearing a veil or merely covering their heads? So many questions but where do we find the answers?

There should be a reform. People need to know that Islam is the most peaceful religion. We need educated leaders to preach to people what Islam is and what Jihad really means. There is a struggle within Islam. The fundamentalists are feeding on poverty and ignorance. We need moderate practising Muslims not radicals who preach hostility and bloodshed. Time has come to take immediate action or the extremists will ruin the religion, its people and eventually the world. Terrorism won't stop, innocent people will continue to perish and bitterness and hatred will prevail.

Nobody will help us until and unless we help ourselves!

By Syeda Shamin Mortada



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