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     Volume 6 Issue 39 | October 5, 2007 |

   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
   Food for Thought
   View from the    Bottom
   A Roman Column
   Human Rights
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review

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Corruption in Public Service
In a civilised society, the police force has a crucial role to protect the citizens and their property and keep the law and order system under control. But it is an irony that instead of safeguarding the people, the police themselves are corrupt and indifferent about their sacred duty as pointed out by the cover story 'Time for a Face Lift' (September 28, 2007).
Political parties have always used the police force to achieve their own ill motives and made their role very controversial over the years. So the general public prefer to avoid the police and resolve crimes in their own way which has paved the way for more crimes to flourish.
Necessary measures should be immediately taken to put into practice the reform measures. This will facilitate to revive the lost faith of people and create an auspicious atmosphere which will enhance our performance as well as national trustworthiness.
Amit Abdullah
Dept. Of Finance, DU

Save the Primary Teachers
I was very shocked to learn about the dilemma of the retired primary school teachers who are facing immense sufferings for the government's inaction in 'Stripped of Their Last Source of Survival' (September 21, 2007). In fact we have a long way to go to have the mindset to be a welfare state.
The teachers are the architects of a nation. Primary school teachers play a critical role in shaping good citizens by guiding children at a very vulnerable stage of their life. They give the basic foundations of our values and beliefs. Their teaching is etched in our minds throughout our lives. They teach us to dream, to love and be patriotic.
I don't see why we should even see it from a humanitarian point of view. It is our duty to be fair to them. Is it not a double standard that everyone else is getting their pension and they are not? This is indeed shocking news for us. I urgently request the government to act in favour of the teachers. A special thanks to SWM for featuring this issue.
Jewel Rana
Faculty of Agriculture
Bangladesh Agricultural University,

Cleaning up Cox's Bazar

It is great to read that Banglalink has been helping to clean up Cox's Bazaar and that Grameenphone are donating a blood bank to a Bogra hospital. These are the kind of tasks the local government should be doing but seem to be unable to perform. A blood bank makes a huge difference to a hospital where people have to often drive for hours to a bigger hospital just to get their sick relatives some blood. There were some complaints a few months ago about Grameenphone vehicles, they acted on the complaints and moved them. These companies are showing some social awareness, it is also good to see that they have identified something real and acted on it. Our lakes in Dhaka are so polluted and full of rubbish, it would be nice to see someone identify problems and clean them up as well!

The So-Called 'Sitting Service'
The government has fixed the rate of bus fares for the local buses again. But as far as I have seen on the news reports they did not mention the rates according to the category of service (AC bus, sitting service etc.). And the transport companies are taking full advantage of this.
In the name of 'sitting service' they are taking more money from passengers. But during rush hour many passengers have to remain standing at these 'sitting services'. Passengers are compelled to pay more than the rate fixed by the government. The bus conductor's logic is very simple - “Why did you (passenger) get on the bus when there are no empty seats? We are offering 'sitting service' at a higher cost.” But during rush hour people have no choice but to try to get to their workplaces on time.
Such cheating shouldn't be allowed to go on. In the context of our country the 'sitting service' concept should be taken off as it just doesn't work like that. The authorities should also fix a more reasonable rate for air-conditioned buses.
Shajjad Hossain
BUET, Dhaka

Higher Education in Bangladesh
The recently published world's best universities ranking shows no Bangladeshi universities have been able to position among the 500 best universities. This is very worrying news.
What is the plight of our higher education and our universities? Our universities are busy providing multifarious and colourful degrees. Their efforts are confined to fitting their products (students) for the job market. Research work is very poor, in some cases there is no research work at all. How can our universities be expected to make contributions in developing new technology when they are far from even using latest technology?
I know some people who earned their Bachelor and Masters degrees without even going through the core books for the discipline. They earned their degrees by collecting readymade notes from senior students. What kind of research work can one expect from such a university student? This is not the students' fault but the universities'. Our universities can neither come up with necessary facilities for research work nor encourage them to do so. Bureaucratic problems and poor technology are hampering the quality of our education and slowing down our advancement while the rest of the world flies past us.
S. M. Mokaddes Ahmed Dipu
Department of Marketing, CU

Necessity of Pre-School
The article on 'How Important is Pre School' (September 21, 2007) was thought provoking and timely. The writer very correctly identified and discussed the needs of pre schooling. But I think there are some arenas where the writer could throw some more light. For example, the article could have addressed the culture of our pre schools by overloading the tiny tots with books, homework etc.
The other day I was surprised at the amount of 'homework' given to a play group toddler. The sight of the little one pulling a school bag almost equal to her height is a common sight in most pre schools in our country. Surely this workload creates stress on the little ones' mind in many ways. Almost all of our pre school teachers do not have any formal education to teach such age groups although in any developed country this is a basic necessity.
Lastly I must thank the writer for a timely and well thought write up.
Naeem Jesan

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