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Schools, really?

Good morning (I am actually a bit surprised that they wanted you to read this any ways).

The thing is that I finally made up my mind to uncover the truth about many of the so called English medium schools in our beloved Dhaka city. I feel that everyone should be aware of it. You must have noticed the sudden growth of English schools. Especially in Dhanmondi, I wonder why they still call it a residential area. If you are one of the lucky ones who live here then you are no more then a hundred yards from one.

Well you can overlook that because it's a good thing, at least the kids are getting a proper schooling.

Proper schooling! What is the definition of a proper schooling? Let me guess. A proper school should have an environment where students can learn to express themselves and discover their own creativity, talents and learn things under proper guidance.

But sadly most of the English medium schools in Dhaka aren't eligible to be called a school. Yes! Its true! I am not kidding. Let's get back to Dhanmondi (I live here). Here the word school has a new different definition. A School is an apartment or a home with preferably no space left for anything except for teaching. It must be over crowded and there must not be any fields for playing.

I always wondered why it is like this and finally got an explanation. The schools are in apartments and homes in the R/A so that students feel more homely while they are there. The rooms are small and congested so that students feel warm and cozy while they are studying. There are no fields for playing because if there are fields then kids would play more and study less. This could also increase the chances of getting injured while outside then inside. So most have exciting indoor games like chess, carom board etc.

These schools give so much personal care to their students that what can I say?

But this is how I see it. All these so called schools are business institutes who don't give a care to the quality of their schools. None of the English medium schools in Dhanmondi and in many places are proper at all. School doesn't only mean studying. There must be a proper spacious campus and a healthy environment. These things definitely affect young kids and the way they think. Speaking of studying, some of the schools doesn't even have proper teachers, classrooms and lab facilities. Some of the teachers even compel the students to take private tuitions.

All of these schools register their students in British Council as private candidates. Private candidates as I know it means that you are giving the exam from no school, i.e. by studying yourself. How the hell will anyone hamper your exam or your grades? Think widely! Because outside our country you are all private candidates. That makes all these fake schools just a coaching centre.(Yea! some people must be there out now to 'bhorta-fy' me)

Don't feel bad but I believe you all have a right to know the truth which all the business institutions are so desperate to hide because I am giving my A' Level form one such place. My whole point is that our government should take steps in imposing some rules and make these coaching centers maintain a minimum standard to be called a school. We do have a right to get a proper education.

By Mushfiqur Rahman

The time watch

Sunday mornings are always a drag when it comes to me. My days off are on Sunday and Wednesday, as weird as it may seem. While Wednesdays are often occupied with studies, movies, shopping, or just plain hanging-out, Sundays bring boredom in its wake. No one to call or hangout with, they're in school. I've tried making good use of the 24 hours, trust me. It just doesn't seem to work. There are phases I've been through to neutralize this paralyzing ennui.

Phase 1 - Gardening: I figured, how hard could it be? You just water the plants, put them in sunlight, and let them live their own lives, just like a very cool parent that everyone wants and no one has. When the flowers start blooming, it would be worth it. I started out with the potato bonsai. You know, sticking them in water with toothpicks and all that. It went quite well at first, the bonsais resembling tiny troll dolls with fright hairdos sticking straight up in colors ranging from green, yellow and hot pink. Then they died on me and broke my heart; over-exposure to light. Seeing this, Abbu brought me a beautiful malachite green philodendron plant in a pot to 'raise'. I loved it. Watered it, kept it away from sunlight as much as possible. Result: dead, again. It's easy to over love as well as under love. Its demise took away my desire for gardening with it.

Phase 2 - Painting: While it wasn't that big a disaster as the gardening, it came quite close. The art went well at first, seeing as I had covered my walls with paintings using poster color. Graduating to oils seemed amazing at first until one fine afternoon when I decided to paint a burning candle (clichéd, I know). Disaster almost struck when something caused the candle to topple over, missing the turpentine can by an inch. That day, I packed up the stuff and dumped them in the storeroom. I really couldn't be trusted with them.

Phase 3 Television: Safe. This way I won't be able to kill another fellow living thing, burn down the house or something equally disastrous. That's what I thought anyway until 24 hours of color TV had me seeing black spots dancing in front of my eyes. I had freaky dreams regarding the sitcoms, movies, or even music videos I watched during the day. Even worse, I could swear that I was becoming visually myopic. However, that can also be blamed on the years I've read in the dark. Not to mention the fact that I was becoming severely addicted to it. Time to do away with phase 3.

Phase 4 Music: No annihilation of living things, no arson charges. Just hours of musical Nirvana; or so I thought. Time to use my ipod. In a blaze of hot pink, I booted up my pc and uploaded the thing with every genre of music known to man and then some. Gleefully I taunted my younger sister with and generally listened to it for weeks. Until I also realized that I'm technologically challenged. The poor thing is now wrecked beyond repair, plus I was hearing this loud buzzing noise in my ears. Thus, phase 4 ended, not in flames but ended all the same.

Phase 5 - Reading: I'm an acknowledged romance booklover. I probably can read on forever. At this rate, that's what I'm going to do anyway. Even destiny seems to agree with me the day I decided to do it, someone just happened to give me a book light to protect me from myself. It's the safest, most interesting way to spend your days. Guaranteed no guilt trips regarding destruction(s) either. I guess that I should stick to it for now… maybe later I'll take up pottery.

By Nabeela

Of Banglish, Bangla and English…

No matter how hard you tried, could you ever come up with just the right English translation for the word 'joss'? If you did, please, wherever you are, just utter it out loud and my desperate ears will pick the word up. But then again, there are so many English words which many could not go on without using. There is 'cool' (thanda?), 'yuck' (ghinnajonok?), 'obviously', 'sure', to name a very few.

Not that I could not translate each of those words if I had to. When engaged in a casual conversation with a friend, a family member or any one, there are certain words I prefer to use, irrespective of the language it belongs to. I am saying all this because I really do not see the harm if we speak in 'banglish', as they call it, as long as we maintain that we know our native tongue well. Yet many people define it as one of the major problems with the 'Yo Generation'.

Tell me, all those who disagree, that if we can carry out a full conversation in Bangla or English when we have to, is 'banglish' really a problem? Should not the problem be then when it is compulsory for me to talk in Bangla, and Bangla only, and I fail to do so without that one English word? If you are complaining about that, you should be. And yet I feel, that when you are talking ill about 'banglish' speaking people in general, I, quite proud of being good at both Bangla and English , feel being herded along with the 'poor-in-their-own-mother-tongue-tsk-tsk' people.

When I will be talking to a foreigner, I will be using 'amazing' or 'superb' for 'joss' no matter how disappointed I will be with the best justice I can do with the 'joss' word called 'joss' given all the English words that exist. Ar jokhon ami emon karo shath-e kotha bolbo je ingreji bhashata bhalo par-e na, ami 'obviously' shobdo-tar jonno obosshoi 'obosshoi' shobdo-ta babohar korbo.

I wonder, and I wonder, how many Bangladeshi people use the word 'pakha' for 'fan', 'baati' for 'light', 'doordashan' for 'television' and 'betar' for 'radio'? Rather, lets' see, who doesn't use these words? So, in essence, all of us using the above-mentioned English words are speaking in banglish right? I mean everybody including the Yo Generation (like d-u-h!), our politicians, our rickshawalla bhais, and even the best English and Bangla professors in the country are mixing up the languages right? So why are the Yo Generation alone being held criminals for what is actually no crime at all?

I feel that firstly, each Bangladeshi should be proudly able to say that 'Ami Bangla khoob bhalo pari' no matter which part of the world you grew up in. True, parents should take that extra care to teach you your mother tongue personally if you are born-and-brought-up abroad. But then again, if they do not, you individually should take an interest and initiative to learn Bangla, just like we take initiatives to learn any other foreign language, singing, playing an instrument or any sport.

Learning English is great, obviously. But if you know English, and only stammer and fumble with your words when speaking in Bangla, really, who do you belong to? Bangladesh would surely not like to call you Her own since you insult its language and any other country with English as Her mother tongue will not own you as Her own either, because just adopting Her native tongue does not make you Hers.

The heroes of our golden history who so readily gave up their lives for us, and the million others who were willing to give theirs if it were required, surely fought and protested for all of us, for each Bangladeshi, for you and for me. So that you can speak the beautiful language of Jibonanando and Nazrul whenever you want to. So learn your English, French, German, because surely, the more you learn, the more fun it is. But please, know our Bangla first. Then you can continue with your banglish with a clear conscience, just like I do.

The writer did not include his/her name. Contact RS to let us know who you are.



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