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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 116 | April 26 , 2009|


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Response on the article ‘Our Universities’

Indeed, the writer of the article 'Our Universities' pointed towards a critical issue that concerns thousands of university students and remains unveiled. I agree with him in most of the points but to some extent I also disagree. In case of the aim and meaning of the 'university' I would like to refer the concept of Henry Cardinal Newman who puts a lot of emphasis on liberal education in his famous prose named ‘The Idea of a University’.

Yes, the aim of university is neither to create faithful and dutiful servants nor to make dominant bureaucrats. University must aim to create better, perfect and astute human beings.

But things do not fall into place so easily. Due to the rise of capitalism and globalisation students have to read subjects in demand for their survival. That means the subject value is determined by capital and utility.

Moreover, failing to create a perfect graduate is no longer a blame for the university alone rather a blame for the government as well.

Let us come to private universities. The Private University Act passed in 1992 with a view to enlarging and enriching our faculty of knowledge. And it is a sad truth that most of the private universities have failed to uphold its purposes. But at the same time its true that the leading private universities have played their role nicely though it's a handful number. Some private universities have ample campuses along with good atmosphere and well-equipped lab facilities in comparison to public universities for education.

At the end of his article the writer mentions that we need a few quality ones instead of enormous number of universities. But my point is that these quality ones should have the facilities to admit large number of students.

Again, the writer diplomatically escaped from the issues like campus violence, session jam, political influence, curriculum, and way of teaching and some other things that play a negative role for education.

To define the standard of our students, I would like to represent a qualitative research of Vivan Cook, a professor of ELT, University of Essex. According to his research, the sub-continental students particularly the Bangladeshis make the best approach in terms of acquisition of a language and do well in their thesis and research work.

Aiman Bin Shaofiqul Hamid
International Islamic University Chittagong


In response to the article 'Our Universities', I would like to share my thoughts and views with the readers. The definition of 'university' in the oxford dictionary is- an institution that teaches and examines students in many branches of advanced learning, awarding degrees and providing facilities for academic research. But how much is this definition true about the universities of our country? We all know the reality of public universities and its never-ending session jams, student politics, poor education and accommodation facilities. On the other hand, the reality of our private universities is equally deplorable. Increasing tuition and admission fees in almost every alternative semester, inadequate lab, campus and teaching facilities, has become the modern definition of universities of our country. What can we say? There is hardly any ideal university in our country in my opinion. Is there any remedy to these boundless differences in our education system? Can we ever solve the existing problems in both our public and private universities? How much conscious and qualified are we to get all the facilities and amenities we are talking about now and then?

We are always claiming our rights and shouting about the injustice that we are facing. But we need to think how much we have contributed to change this situation. What have we done in our personal level to upraise ourselves, how many responsibilities have we fulfilled towards our nation? Judge yourself first before pointing the faults in others. The rule of this world is that you cannot have free lunches unless you earn it. We have to change our attitudes and our thinking. Our universities and this nation cannot change until we change ourselves. In order to develop the conditions we need to develop our inner positive qualities.

Sheikh Nadia Hassan


I have read 'Our Universities' written by Shafayet Jamil and found the article very contradictory. I think he had been unnecessarily biased against the private universities.

He pointed out directly against the private universities when he said “I want to know what specialty they possess apart from creating a good number of graduates?” Well, if he finds that the private universities are doing a fault creating good numbers of graduates and nothing else, then what's bad in it? At least they are giving the nation some graduates, unlike the public universities, which are still surviving bullets and ballots every now and then! He also pointed out that private universities lack of research facilities and full time teaching staff, no permanent campus, poor lab facilities have become our modern definition of university. He has logic in his claim. But then we must also say that despite having huge permanent campuses and modest lab facilities, the public universities, are still falling behind in utilizing those for their students. Sprawling university campuses are not just 'a show-off', they are meant for holding campus fairs, or exhibitions, or sports festivals or book fairs. When was the last time that such occasions graced our public university campuses?

So I believe we should stop throwing mud at each other because both the public and the private universities belong to us and meant for us: the students. We must have respect for each other and do something jointly for a better future.

Zakia Rezwana
Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB)


I agree with Shafayet Jamil when he said that the students are the future leaders of any nation. It is because we all know that education indeed is the 'deciding factor' for any nation to take a leap forward in today's competitive world and the students are the people who have the abilities to maintain the roles of leadership that can lead a particular society to a bright future.

Nevertheless, there are some prejudice of the writer in the article about private universities that upset me. He claimed that private universities are lacking research facilities and full time teaching staff, no permanent campus and poor lab facilities. I think he generalized the institution called private university.

I partially agree with his judgment because there are private universities which have the above mentioned blemishes to carry on their shoulders, but I presume that the writer has failed to see the fact that there are numerous universities in the country which fall into different categories in status and quality; a few of them in fact excel in imparting quality education to the nation. In fact, a recent study by Research Bangla (RB) shows that top three private universities in web-research publications are East West University (885), IUB (283) and Daffodil International University (230).

The writer perhaps did not realize that if there were no private universities, thousands of young, bright students would have been turned into a frustrated community failing to get admitted to the holy place called public universities. It is true that most of the public universities (if not all) still depend on the public university teachers to teach their students and the writer's concern for lack of permanent/full time faculty is not negligible, but my question is- has anyone wondered why public university teachers take part-time jobs in private universities? Well, the reason is clear, it's because they are paid well for their hardship and effort and the working environment is also healthy with less political influence working against them. Most of our public university itself has plunged into oblivion as it has been rated as 4900th something in the global universities' ranking list. It is a matter of great concern as very recently the public university campuses are again getting into headlines for all wrong reasons.

I fully agree with the view point of the writer when he said that it is a university that holds the responsibility to deck the camouflaged ability or qualities that are necessary for the students to achieve their primary goals but along with the university, I think the students themselves should also maintain punctuality and be hardworking so that he can make a smooth journey towards a wonderful and a meaningful future.

Rubayat Rahman
Independent University Bangladesh

In response to ‘When will Bangla become the medium of Education?’

Mehjabeen Rahman

In the article ‘When will Bangla become the medium of Education’ the writer introduces many valid points about advantages of using the mother language instead of any second or third language as the medium of education, but fails to acknowledge the problems that may arise because of this, especially at the tertiary level. If we were to study in Bangla at the university level, we would be excluding ourselves from an entire group of scholars who mainly communicate in English. We would going to be out of sync with the rest of the world, making it much harder for graduates from Bangladesh to go abroad to pursue higher degrees. It would isolate us from the rest of the world, especially the English speaking countries.

The author mentions how Japan and China handle this problem, but even within Japan and China there are schools known as foreign language schools which prepare their students for interaction with the others in foreign countries by teaching them foreign languages and foreign culture. They only accept the brightest of students, and their graduates are the ones we see at the forefront of scientific and academic achievements, both at home and abroad. Also, most countries, especially Japan, are now promoting learning of English. They are hiring individuals who are native speakers of English to come to Japan and teach there. Thus they themselves are moving away from the system that you are advocating we adopt.

In response to another fact you mentioned in your article about how one of the commissions suggested that foreign languages should not be taught till the fifth grade. Linguists have found that the younger you are, the better you will be at learning a foreign language. Between the ages of three to five, the brains of young children are like sponges, and so this is the ideal time to learn something completely new. As we grow, our brains lose this sponge like ability until we reach the point where it becomes very hard, but not impossible for us to learn a new language. Taking this into consideration, it would be a much better idea to make sure that students in primary school are getting a solid background in a language like English which will be an advantage to them for the rest of their lives.

I am not arguing about the fact that it would be best if all our education was in our mother language Bangla. It truly is a magnificent language with a rich history, but if we are to keep up in the current world, we need to make sure we are in-step with other, more developed countries. One of the smallest ways in which we can do this is by increasing the fluency of English of today's students so that they have an advantage on the world's playing field tomorrow. Both Bangla and English should be emphasized starting from a young age. In today's age of globalisation, we must make sure that Bangladesh is not left behind.

Bangladeshi excels at NASDAQ

Americans for UNFPA President, Anika Rahman, a Bangladeshi American, rang the NASDAQ stock Market, Inc. Opening Bell on Thursday April 9th, 2009. While thanking the Obama Administration and Congress for their support of the world's women, she will call on all of us to declare, “I am an American for UNFPA.” Americans for UNFPA builds moral, political and financial support for the work of UNFPA within the United States. UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, provides women's health care and promotes the rights of women in 150 countries around the world. It's the largest international source of such assistance and has proven effective in combating some of the most intractable health problems.

Anika was born in Bangladesh and she is the eldest daughter of Ms. Lubna Choudhury, Founder - Principal of Bangladesh International Tutorial. She was a student of Bangladesh International Tutorial (BIT) and is the first Alumni of the school. She later attended Princeton University and has done her Ph. D in Jurisprudence from Columbia University (New York) and is the president of Americas for UNFPA in USA.

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