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Practicals Only an Eye-Wash

Sweat trickling down from the body, a bit of uncertainty, uneasiness in the mind and the hard look of the Invigilators…this is the typical scene of the practical exams (rather the chemistry practical, as most chemistry labs don't have any cooling system). Or is it?

When we're talking about the practical exams of the SSC, however, that is only a mere imagination. Here's the real scene of the exam hall: no invigilator or teacher in the room, there are no apparatus to conduct the experiments, the examinees are writing down everything from the book and the funniest part is the exam is taking place in a general class-room.

This is the common scenario of the most centres in our country. It's common knowledge, but though I heard the fact that practical exam is only a gimmick, I hardly believed it, as I had to work really hard in the school to complete my practical experiments. My belief changed at once when I sat for the exam myself, and witnessed the disgusting corruption of our highly honoured and respected educators, those people we call the 'builders of our nation': our teachers.

Most Bangla-medium students know that the practical exams don't take place at all and to get good marks (out of 25-30), all that is needed is some money. This has become so common that people have become indifferent to it. In most of the cases, the guardians make the arrangement and tell the students to follow this ill trend.

In our exam-centre no one arranged it, the teachers themselves asked for the money. At first, though I knew about it, I took good preparations for the exam (like I did in school). On the first day, I found out that books (even guides) are also allowed (and foolishly I didn't bring any book, thinking it's an exam-hall). After I located my seat, I found out that the seating arrangement isn't good, with three students sharing each bench (where two can barely fit). Then I saw the school-staff supplying us with the exam-scripts and questions. No teachers to be seen. Suddenly, one came into the room and told us to write down any experiment we liked. Then he chose one to collect the money from us and told him to give the collected money in an envelope bearing the room number. Thus our exam kicked off.

Next came one of the staff and collected our practical notebooks and asked us to pay him some money (to get full marks in the notebooks). The exam continued with the students doing no experiments at all and writing everything from the books or guides. There were no invigilators (a teacher came only once and took the attendance and told us not to make loud noises). After some time, we were summoned for the viva one by one. There again (to the relief of the students) some ridiculous questions were asked bearing no marks (as the marks had been given beforehand).

This is the incident repeated in every practical exam. Though it seems unbelievable (with the authority boasting a cheating-free examination) I had to believe it, as I witnessed it myself. Surprisingly, the students and guardians support it, and the concerned authorities are taking no action to stop such corruption. Moreover, the media seems not to take it seriously.

Who are to blame for such malpractice? Of course, not only the teachers and the students. If we delve into the matter deeply, we'll find that it's happening because of the failure of the education system as a whole. How can they imagine that practical exams can be held without the proper apparatus? Only a few schools of Dhaka have them (now think about outside Dhaka city), and no one has taken any steps to supply the necessary items (or maybe they have taken some initiatives which failed like most steps taken by the government).

If they cannot make the proper arrangements, what is the meaning of holding such useless practical exams? Isn't that just eyewash, to tell the nation that the students are educated properly they are able to use their knowledge in practical life? Thus the common students are cheated by the education systems, set up by the wise pundits (or bandits?). If we check, we'll find that their own sons and daughters are far from this rotten education system (either studying abroad or in the other foreign curriculum).

The result of this gimmick is terrible. By such malpractice, not only the students lack the ability to conduct practical experiments, but they also get accustomed to the widespread corruption. From their childhood they find out that anything can be done through bribes and later they themselves get involved in it. Thus they lose their morality and never protest against such treachery. The authorities should immediately take necessary steps to stop this treason. What is the point of implementing such useless things, when it produces no result? Moreover, how can teachers play the lead role in it? We are really fooling ourselves if we leave it to such people to 'build the nation'.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author. The write-up speaks of a general scenario, and is not directed towards any particular individual or institution.

By Cracker Jack

Amader Khobor: the lost voice

They are often the most oppressed in society. Their questions remain unanswered; their needs are ignored. People take advantage of their innocence and ignorance by violating their rights and harassing them. Often subjected to violence and victimized by prejudice, the underprivileged children of Bangladesh continue their struggle on their own. To give them back their lost voice ICCHA a media production house of children has taken the initiative to bring out a monthly children's magazine "Amader Khobor".

The motive of this eight-page magazine is to recognize and raise awareness of the problems faced by adolescents and children in the country rape, kidnapping, child marriage, crime, drugs to name a few. Nearly 7268 cases of child rights violation have been recorded in the year 2003 alone, a figure the magazine highlights in its April 2004 issue. There can be no doubt, therefore, about the need of such a magazine that can not only inform children about their rights but also inspire and mobilize them.

Amader Khobor boasts a high level of reporting and claims that everything from reporting to editing is done by children. Facts and figures as well as colored pictures support every news item. There are articles on the various local and international events concerning children that are taking place. Also included are real life stories of teenagers harassed by the police or hooligans.

The second page is a fun page decorated with poems, jokes, trivia and facts. Interestingly page six is an English summarization of the rest of the magazine, which is in Bengali. Amader Khobor publishes stories, essays, and reports written by readers too.

ICCHA the media production house that publishes this magazine has nearly seventy-five teen age members associated with different mass media who have, at the same time, received training from various organizations including Save the Children Alliance, UNICEF and BCCP. Other activities of the organization include making video programs, providing training and staging plays.

The children of today are the future citizens and leaders of Bangladesh. Therefore every child deserves a secure and healthy environment for his or her proper development. Unfortunately few children in our country are given that chance. Amader Khobor deserves to be congratulated for taking the first step in identifying the issues concerned with children. Lets hope their efforts will be successful in benefiting the children of our country. Amder Khobor can be contacted at this number: 8850329, Ext: 205, 8812389

By Shoaib Alam

Campus news

Kindergarten section of Radiant International School holds its cultural program-2004

The kindergarten section of Radiant International School held its cultural program for the current academic year 2003-2004, on Monday, the 26th April, 2004. Their collective efforts were finally crowned with success. The day was perhaps not as clear and bright as was expected, but the beaming faces of the Radiant children compensated for the lack of lustre in the weather. The whole section was throbbing with activity. The teachers were as busy as the children. Entering the school building, one could see a group of tiny tots frolicking about in their best outfits.

The program started at about 10:30 am It was a moderately short program lasting almost two-and-a-half hours. Parents turned out in fairly large numbers and almost every one of them was fussing with cameras to capture the children's dazzling moments. The programme started with a welcoming speech by Mrs. Tahamina Rahman, head of the kindergarten section.

This was followed by a short speech by the Principal Dr Nazma Yeasmeen Haque. In her address, she extolled endeavours of the teachers of kindergarten section for providing an all-round quality education to the pupils and highlighted the significance of tapping the talents of young children for performing arts. The opening item of the program was Tagore's famous song "Amara Shobai Raja" sung by the kinds of KG-I and KG-II.

The next items were two nursery rhymes -- one in English and other one in Bengali. The rhymes sounded million times better in their soft voice, and left the crowd nostalgic about their own childhood. The rhymes were followed by a play entitled 'House that Jack Built" acted out by children of KG-I and KG-II The future actors and actress presented a superb play as best as they could. The next item on the program was poetry recitation by the kids. The poem "Bus or Train, Car or Plane" was acted out by some tiny tots dressed to appear like a bus, train car, and plane.

There were several others poems and rhymes recited by the youngsters from different classes. What was amazing was that the kids who were merely 4-5 years old were so talented. All of them were so smart and confident! There was another Bengali play entitled "Attacharir Parinam" which was based on the ideas of one of Aesop's fables. The play was acted out by KG-1 students. There was an English play based on the story "Little Red Riding flood" which was also acted out by the children of KG-I.

There was a patriotic song "Shona Shona Shona Loke Bole Shona" and a dance performance to the accompaniment of the famous Tagore song "Esho Nipobone." The program was rounded of with two dance performances, one in English and the other one in Bengali. In this last presentation, the performers were accompanied by the teachers, the Principal and some parents.

There were several performances by the female parents. They enthralled the audience with their melodious voices and sang a couple of well-known Bengali songs. As it was kids' show, everything was not perfect, which was understandable. There were trivial blips like crying actors, stubborn singers, lethargic dancers etc. While taking part in play, an actor forgot put on his night grown and in another instance a child slipped out of his T-shirt as it was much too large for him.

Principal, was the master of the ceremonies and Arafat Ahmed, a senior student from Class-VIII assisted her. Kudos to all the teachers of Kindergarten section, because every one of them contributed a great deal to making the programme a success. All the members of the staff at school offices deserve appreciation for their tireless efforts. The teachers directed the dance and the songs. Mr. Naseruddin Chowdhury, who is a student Arts College of Fine Arts, was responsible for the setting and decoration of the stage.

By Pushpita Saha




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