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   Volume 10 |Issue 25 | July 01, 2011 |


 Cover Story
 Special Feature
 Photo Feature
 Food for Thought
 Star Diary

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The Value of Higher Education

I was very pleased to see that The Star magazine has chosen to cover the issue of the quality of higher education in this country, which, as the story suggests, is in a shambles. It is true that students have to follow a very dreary, uninspiring education system that does not provoke their creativity or allow them to be analytical and innovative. While their are many dedicated teachers at our public universities it is true that many of them are not and just treat their profession as a job. The ultimate result is that these students come out of the universities with a degree and just that. When they apply for jobs and are called for interviews their inadequacies become apparent. Many English Literature graduates for instance, do not know how to write correct sentences and yet they have a Masters degree. This is appalling and it is not the student's fault that he/she has not really absorbed the knowledge imparted at the university. It is the system that has not been modified to encourage young people to think for themselves, to question conventional rules and to be able to think creatively. It is high time that our educationists and our government pays attention to this vital sector and ensure that our public universities are brought back to being the citadels of excellence and real learning that they once were.

Tajul Islam
Uttara, Dhaka

Photo: Zahedul I Khan

The Onus is on Teachers

Your last week's cover story 'Dull, Drab and Dry' has caught my attention. Colonialism, like hydra in the myth, has left many of its remnants in our society. Of them one is nepotism and factionalism, which our country has been plagued with and public universities are arguably the worst victim. There are instances where a particular student has been unduly favoured because he or she belongs to a particular political group at the university. Besides this, most of the teachers, especially those at the Faculty of Business Studies, are busy with consultancy, teaching at private universities and dealing in shares at the stock market. I thank The Star for covering such a timely issue with the hope that more such cover stories are in the offing.

Al Amin Musa

Engineering for Women

I am sorry to say that the article “Ladies, it's not your Cup of Tea!” paints a rather grim picture of job prospects for female engineers. My female friend became the lecturer of the best engineering university of Bangladesh, because of her excellent results. And not through any political affiliation, which is the prime criteria of becoming a faculty member for almost all other universities in Bangladesh. Now she is pursuing higher studies abroad. The stereotypical idea that engineers have to wrestle with heavy machinery and swear at work men to get their job done needs to be changed. Engineering jobs encompass planning, designing, monitoring, research works and much more. My female colleagues are doing great at their work. Even in the field level, the more traditional engineering sector, I have seen female engineers working as efficiently as their male counterparts, if not better. I am not saying when it comes to job environment; it is all rosy for female engineers. One of my friends had her first working place away from Dhaka and also her home district. She was not happy with the job, but eventually she found a job near her home district. We all agree that there is a lot to be done to make work environments friendlier to female engineers. Painting a grim picture and discouraging guardians to study engineering subjects for their daughters will hardly serve the purpose.


Women in the Workplace

On June 17, The Star magazine has published an article regarding stereotyping women and their roles in some professions. The writer brought up interesting issues regarding how working women are viewed and treated, especially in male dominated professions such as engineering. While it is true that our country is not the safest place for women to go about doing field work, staying away from home, staying out at night etc, it is our duty as a society to make sure that we make it safe. A working place with an equal male to female ratio is a very healthy one and it is about time the men in our country stop feeling threatened by women who are just as capable as they are to perform well in every field. In a country where professionalism is a virtually alien concept, men might feel they cannot speak freely and be themselves around their female colleagues. What they must understand is that certain jokes, and comments should be reserved for after work hours, even if it is with their male colleagues. It is both respectful and common courtesy which we should receive training for. Furthermore, the government should encourage employers to keep an open mind about women in the work place and give everyone an equal chance. I enjoyed reading this article very much and believe more should be written on this subject.

Auroni Rahman

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