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Scholastica's educational trip to Unilever Bangladesh Ltd and Aktel

The A-Level students of Scholastica recently got the chance to visit the corporate offices of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. and Aktel. Two educational trips were arranged by Ms. Afsana for the Business Studies students of the school.

On 15th March 2006 we were taken by the school bus to the local head office of Unilever.

The lovely interior of the office, the various works of art and the whole feeling of being in a corporate environment was very exciting for us. We were directed to a flamboyantly decorated presentation room, where we were greeted by Mr. Delwar Hossain and Mr. Dev Dulal from Unilever's Finance Department.

They explained to us about the various aspects of the company's financial operations, starting from the preparation of various accounts, ratio analysis, loan financing, budgeting, pricing policy, etc.

Unilever markets its products in the rural regions of the country by creating awareness among the village people about the benefits of using products like soap and shampoo. Thus Unilever's market has experienced constant growth over the past decade. Products such as Lux, Fair & Lovely, Lifebuoy, etc. have become a part of the average Bangladeshi's daily life. The recent talent show Tomakei Khujchhe Bangladesh, sponsored by the brand Close Up, has taken the toothpaste brand's popularity to skyrocket over the past few months.

It was a long session at Unilever, but a very informative one. We were able to relate our theoretical knowledge to the practical methods of operations. Naturally, when we got the opportunity to visit another big company, Aktel - a few weeks later, we were all very enthusiastic about it.

We visited the Aktel office on 5th April. After reaching the office, we zoomed up to some double digit numbered floor and entered, once again, a very elegantly designed office. Mr. Md. Mahamud Hossain, Senior Manager of Corporate Finance & Risk Management, Finance Division of Aktel, was there to greet us in the presentation room. We had a fantastic time, as he jovially explained to us the various accounting methods. Aktel is owned by a Malaysian telecommunications company Telekom Malaysia International and was introduced to the Bangladeshi market 8 years ago. Their market has expanded by a great extent over the past years, and currently they have the second largest market share in the mobile telecommunication market (GrameenPhone being the market leader). We also had the opportunity to speak to Aktel's Head of Marketing Mr. Asif Iqbal, who briefly explained to us the motive behind marketing, and how one of Aktel's packages called Aktel Joy effectively increased the company's market share.

Once again, we had a delightful learning experience. The students are deeply thankful to the executives of the two companies for their time and effort, and to Ms. Afsana and the school administration for arranging these trips. We certainly hope to have more of such educational trips in the future.

By Azhar Chowdhury

Djuice private university festival

North South University (NSU) arranged a daylong cultural festival. The festival was held at the Osmani memorial hall on 31st March. Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB), Brac University, American International University Bangladesh (AIUB), University of Asia Pacific and Stamford University also participated in this colourful event.

Spear-headed by the North South University Shangskritik Sangathan (NSUSS), the event started off with an enjoyable presentation by the University of Asia Pacific.

IUB came up with a musical performance that was well received by the audience. Brac University performed a nice hour for the viewers and guests, wowing them with their fire-spinning. NSUSS were the last performers.

Begum Selima Rahman, State Minister for Cultural Affairs, was the Chief Guest, while professor Dr. M Asadujjaman (UGC Chairman),and Pro Vice chancellor of North South University Professor Khairul Bashar were also present amng others.

By Mostofa Saikh Chowdhury

Bengali new year at Universal Tutorial

Universal Tutorial, an English Medium school, ushered in the Bengali New Year in their own grand style at the school premises in 92, New Eskaton.

The programme was inaugurated by the principal, Faruk Aziz Khan, and organised by the music teacher, Ranjana Barua. It featured songs, dance, dramas and recitation by the students, and several guardians also rendered songs.

The children also had a mela, complete with a nagor dola (Ferris Wheel).

By RS desk

Masterminds Graduate

Ever wonder what makes an event truly memorable? More than the onstage performances, it is the backstage melodrama that goes unnoticed and unheard by the unsuspecting audience. The Mastermind Graduation Ceremony of 2006 organised by Mastermind School, and hosted by Maliha Bassam and Abir Faizulah, though a smashing hit, was no different. It had everything from graceful dances, to melodious singing, to magical opoetry, to eloquent speeches and inspiring theatrical performances. However, as we interviewed some members of the organisational committee we were told bits and pieces of what REALLY went into achieving this success. So brace yourselves as we tell you bits and pieces of an amazing inside story.

One name that kept cropping up throughout the interview was that of Nabila Idris. Everyone had a good word to put in for this A' Level student. She supervised two of the most popular performances of the ceremony with students ranging between 9 to 14 years of age.

Nabila recalls how this one child lost his tooth the day before the ceremony and how this little girl started crying on the day of the ceremony because her makeup hadn't been done. But in spite of the chaos, Nabila admits being surprised by the level of dedication and hard work these kids put into their performances. What about her own dedication? Well, she insists it was a collective effort and cannot thank Nusrat, Shayer, Zeenat, Nafisa, Kashfia, Javed, Junaid and Iftekar (many more) enough for their support and co-operation.

We then moved on to interview the one woman who was trusted with the supervision of the entire ceremony- Mrs Nira Habib, Mastermind School's chief administrator. She proudly tells us of the total co-operation on part of the teachers, the staff and the students. Was it hard making sure everything goes smoothly?

It was, she agrees, but it wouldn't have been possible without the relentless support of her colleagues and students. She then tells us how one student, Prathama Komal Nabi, went on stage for a dance and the music that was played was the wrong one! Backstage, everyone had cold hands and feet but Parthama's elegance and performance was unaffected. She completed the performance without giving the slightest hint that something was wrong!

Last but not the least we interviewed the man behind all this- Syed Fakhruddin Ahmed; principal of Mastermind. He smiles as he reminisces how Mastermind which began in 1997, as a family of only 400 students and 25 teachers has now approximately 3500 students and 300 teachers. So how does he feel when he sees graduates from his institution doing so well in various fields? It makes him proud, he says, and is happy that he is able to give something to his motherland in the form of an educated and capable generation. Anything he would like to say to his students?

“Keep your eyes open and work hard but before that try to discover yourself first!”

Mastermind School celebrated its graduation programme on 14th of April at China-Bangladesh Friendship Conference Centre.

By Ayesha Ansari

Teen central
Rumours and gossipe

"Do you know so-and-so? Well, I heard she is an absolute $**#! You wouldn't think it at first glance, but really she is!” With that it begins…the gossip, I mean.

So this person, who utters this line usually has no clue about this so-called indecent girl, has seen her twice in her life at most, knows none of her friends or even acquaintances but, nonetheless, sees herself qualified, her own judgments and conclusions substantial enough to be delivered to other people as facts. How very complacent we all can be at times!

The exaggerated accounts and descriptions, complete with icing and cherry on top, even raise eyebrows of people who actually know this girl for some time. 'Bad' things are somehow more fun to believe.

We all crave for some excitement in life, but it's just sad that we get that excitement out of fabricating stories or, more cleverly, coming to our own convenient conclusions from certain events. That way we're not lying, but simply giving our own very convincing opinion about a particular event. Well although it seems like an absolutely harmless act, in reality it isn't.

It takes a lifetime to build a reputation but merely one rumour to destroy it, because these rumours spread like forest fire and before you know it there are whispering voices and cold looks around that girl, who by the way, we never got a chance to really know.

We do this for fun, to make casual talk during coaching classes, to show others that we know a 'lot of people'(this has become a real fad lately). When we meet people from other schools we feel like we MUST discuss and cross-relate all the people that we 'know'. Sadly those who find importance in these very 'point-ful' conversations are the ill reputed ones. Never is it about the very bright girl, or the one who paints beautifully, or is a great player.

Well I guess it just hurts to admit that there are people better than us or actually do more constructive things with their time than gossip. Reality is harsh enough; why spread salt on wounds by discussing about these people? Instead of playing them out as wimps or nerds or at extreme cases, morally degraded people (I am refraining from using the common terms) we can actually boost our own confidence, and according to our selective general knowledge, that is supposed to be a good thing for the body and soul. It's funny how our minds work in the most amazing ways when it comes to convincing ourselves of something somewhat twisted!

We all love to join into these huge 'discussions' but usually it just takes one to initiate it and the rest follow. We don't even think about what it is that we are doing or why. Well I can only hope that it is a passing phase. Maybe we'll soon grow out of it, learn to accept people for who they are, see things from a wider perspective……….Yeah right and pigs will fly! All that I have glimpsed of the world of adults be it directly or through soap operas convince me that it's not getting any better and it won't unless we make a conscious effort to avoid it, rumours and gossip, that is.

By Midnight Maiden


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