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     Volume 4 Issue 73 | December 2, 2005 |

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Global Opportunity Delivered Locally

Tahmina Shafique

It was back in 2003 when Atif Ahmed (18) started a new life. Before that, like many other students he felt frustrated. Despite being talented and determined to study abroad, his father's financial position meant he could not afford to go overseas unlike his friends who had already started pursuing their education abroad. He had almost given up his dreams and thought it was impossible for him to compete in the international market and become 'someone'.

It was his old friend Hassan who dragged him out of the house and persuaded him to visit the Qualifications Fair. Imran expected to see Foreign University representatives providing capable students with on-spot admissions. He had gone through it all, the costs excluding accommodations were beyond his father's reach. Upon entering the British Council (BC) premises where the first ever Qualifications@UK

Fair 2003 was being held, his understanding changed. He realised the fair was his chance to get an international qualification by studying in Bangladesh His hopes renewed he spent the day talking to some of the Directors and Chief Representatives of Universities from UK who gave him all the information he needed about getting a global opportunity delivered locally.

Imran was oblivious to the concept of distance learning. He, like many others, was ecstatic to find out that he could study under a UK based institution without the high costs of having to go abroad. The Fair was a real turning point for many students like Imran. That year the fair saw a total of 25,000 visitors in two days only in Dhaka. The tremendous response from students, parents and local tuition providers encouraged British Council to hold the fair annually.

The Qualification@Uk Fair 2005, held on 23rd November in Dhaka, 26th in Sylhet and 27th and 28th in Chittagong was no exception. Despite the political unrest throughout the country, the fair was a huge success. The inauguration ceremony was graced by the British High Commissioner His Excellency Anwar Chowdhury, Education Minister Dr. M Osman Farruk, June Rollinson, Director British Council, Graham McCullough Regional Director Teaching and Exams, British Council and Ms Rubaba Dowla Matin, Head of MRD and Acting Director, Marketing Division, Grameen Phone.

A total of 21 institutes including London College of Legal Studies, Newcastle Law Academy, SAFS, Bangladesh Institute of Management Studies (BIMS), Dhaka Centre for Law and Economics, City and Guilds, University of London and Bhuiyan Academy participated in the fair offering degrees such as LLB, NCC, CIMA, CIM, ACCA, BBA, MBA, Btec etc. Besides the information and advice provided by the representatives, seminars and slideshows held inside the BC Auditorium helped prospective students to plan their future.

Atif Ahmed, now 21, was seen in one of the stalls. However, this time he was not here to choose the right career, but represented the institute he had been studying in. "I took special interest in coming here because this fair changed my life and I want to help change the lives of others like me. Today, I am a third year external programme LLB student. My degree is under the University of London, UK. During these years I have been guided by excellent an group of faculty trained by the qualification providers themselves. I have been able to work and save up money. By the grace of Almighty, I will be heading for London after the completion of my third year".

The fair was flooded with interested students throughout the day and its vitality was incresed by sponsors. Djuice was handing out T-shirts and free gift hampers to the visitors. "Djuice is a brand for the youth and it is in light of this that we have taken the initiative to be a part of a fair that greatly supports the education of the Youth of our Country", mentioned the Acting Director of Grameen Phone. "It feels wonderful to see the future of so many being decided right here in one day. I am sure that this generation of young talents will change the face of the nation in the future".


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