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Women's day program at DU

The Dhaka University English Department celebrated an evening of poetry, music and drama to commemorate the International Women's Day. The English Department of DU has a name for organizing various cultural programs within the campus. Along with the English Department Drama Society (EDDS), this program lived up to the fame. The event was aptly named VIVA WOMAN.

The program started at 5:30 in DU Natmondol with a jam packed audience. Although it was a program celebrating women, a lot of male students were seen enjoying and supporting the performers with encouragement. The first part of the program consisted of songs and poetry recitations by both students and teachers of the Department. The theme was based on womanhood and feminism. For the students it was a surprise, for they have not known many of their sirs and madams to be such excellent singers or performances.

After a break and light snacks, the second part of the event commenced. The main attraction of the event was a drama by EDDS called “A Celebration of Women”. The drama was written by Prof. Niaz Zaman and was directed by our teacher Tahmina. The cast included mostly 2nd year students of the department. The story brought together some of the famous women role models from history and literature in an attempt to outline the present situation of women around the world. Clytemnestra, Lady Macbeth was present along with Begum Rokeya and Virginia Wolf amongst other prominent figures. I know some of the performers and for many of them, it was their first stage appearance. Considering this, the acting, dialogue and presentation was absolutely flawless and the drama ended amongst repeated claps.

At the end of the drama, Prof. Niaz Zaman and Tahmina thanked the audience and introduced the performers. She specially acknowledged the work of Sabrina and Rubaid for assisting her with the direction.

The dance sequence of the Nameless Girls was choreographed by Raka. A special thanks also went to the musicians and the light technicians who all worked together to bring the event alive.

By Tanvir Hafiz

Science fair @ Summerfield Int. School

The students, parents and teachers of Summerfield International School had become eco-scientists on 24th of March 2006. This year Summerfield organized its Science Festival for students of classes I to IX under the theme of “Nature”. With a global issue on Environment, the subject was chosen to give emphasis in raising general awareness of the role of plants, animals and the environment around us.

The festival not only presented more than 50 projects but also organized four Theatre Shows and numerous fun activities, where visitors participated in their own science experiments. The theatre included a musical drama, set on a forest backdrop showing all the plants and animals living in harmony with the nature. It demonstrated how humans benefit from these habitats and should protect them from untoward destruction.

The presentations of the projects were much varied and informative. It was awe-inspiring to see how the junior students were conscious about the importance of the Nature around us. Whether it was global warming, water cycle, or marine life their confident stature and somber note left no doubt to the seriousness of the project that they were presenting. The senior students also exhibited their flair by dealing with some of the pressing environmental problems and providing innovative solutions as means of remedy. Whether it was using under-ground heat to generate energy, or the role of plants in cleaning the environment, or using biological indicators in early determination of pollution, all projects shed new light to how we looked at our environment and how much we depend on it.

As with the tradition of the Summerfield, great emphasis was given on the creativity of the students, and with combination of their scientific knowledge, novel and fascinating models were presented. Apart from conducting an interactive festival, important values were also instilled in students on creating teamwork, building trust and forming friendship. For a project to turn out successfully the students had to develop these qualities in themselves.

The science projects were judged under three age groups by invited guests. Resisting the initial rush of nervousness the students successfully convinced all their judges with style and confidence.

Few anxious moments were felt during the prize giving ceremony, but after that the students all rejoiced celebrating for the winning projects and cheering in anticipation for the next year's festival.

Sharif Azfar Shameem, Sarah Madeline Sanabam, Taskin Matin(Class IX Summerfield International School)

Success of students through teachers

Once upon a time, sitting under an International Examination Board sounded so foreign and distant. The curriculum, assessment criteria, language and style- everything seemed so vague and confusing. Training for teachers and implementation of proper guidelines for such examination has now become a priority. Today the distance is no longer a barrier. With the competent International Examination bodies such Cambridge International Examination (CIE), today it's much easier for teachers to understand the needs of the course and be able to implement proper lesson plans for the success of their students.

CIE introduced its much awaited Teachers Training Seminar last week at the Oxford International School Auditorium. The aim of the seminar was to clarify the assessment criteria and marking scheme of the O'level exams and also focus on in-class activities through trainers and Examiners of CIE.

The English Language Trainer Helen Toner has been working with CIE for the last 30 years and is the principal examiner for the last 11 years. “ This has been my best teaching experience, it was a seminar open to suggestions, ideas and most importantly the eagerness of the teachers to share knowledge and solve quires” said Toner enthralled after a full activity and discussion based two day long seminar.

Oxford University Degree holder, Gillian Winkworth added a new flair to Mathematics teaching Methodology among the Maths Teachers. Gillian is at the moment the team leader for O'level setting questions for 2008. “Most teachers were unaware of the positive marking assessment of CIE and this was a chance to clear the conception of extremely strict marking.”

“These seminars seek to break the conservative method of teaching besides focusing on the marking assessment and course objective of the exams. We have also focused on practical teaching methodology that involves two way communications between teacher and students which is a much needed requirement over here at the moment”, pointed Rogger Norris, the Principle Examiner of O'level Chemistry.

The workshop, in simple words, was a great success. Teachers from a total of 16 schools under CIE participated in the workshop. One of the teachers put the experience of the workshop in simple words, “The next time we walk inside the class and brief our students for their upcoming examination under CIE, we can guide them with greater confidence and better understanding of the examination requirement. Thanks to CIE for ensuring the success of students through us teachers”

By Tahmina Shafique

Charity Concert for Mr.Jaglul Alam
An ex Scholastican's perspective

Scholastica is teaching their students to attend concerts. It's true. Not surprisingly, parents had to team up with them once they heard the cause. Mr.Jaglul Alam is suffering from blood cancer, and this special teacher needs all our help to stop himself from fading away.

Scholastica Aid arranged the impressive lineup of bands. Zoroastrian, Powersurge, Synopsis, Druids, Fake Plastic Superheroes, Shade, Birodh, DNA, Nemesis and Black performed respectively. They demonstrated Metallica's Master of Puppets, Cryptic Fate's Protibad, Iron Maiden's Fear of the Dark, Linkin Park's In the End and so many more. Some bands even treated us with their own renditions such as Nemesis playing Biborno Shroshta, Gone, New Day and Obocheton while Black performing ?, With or Without You and Obinoshor. With so much excitement, exams certainly needed a lesser priority. Isn't that right mother?

All said and done; how was the charity concert? Disastrous with occasional bomb blasts? Well…NO. However, here's a brief glimpse of what actually happened.

March 31st, STM Hall: The show started around 2:30. We were all greeted by draconian security with very clear messages. “If you're 'gifted' being doped, drunk or suicidal, look elsewhere for fun okay?” They even seized traces of matchsticks. I wonder how they used all the seized possessions after that.

Fans continued to stream into the venue. With bands rehearsing, the excitement was elsewhere. Yes, any keen observer could notice a subtle ritual taking place. This was practiced among lonely guys and girls. Standing among groups (ironically), their eyes delivered all the necessary communication. What they were trying to express was, “I'm available, so let's get married and start a family and then bring world peace”. It's touching.

I'm moving on to the bands now. This was Powersurges first performance, with Rafa of Kral as vocals. However, Synopsis was clearly the happening band, as they had a purely scholastican group, except their vocal. Most of the other bands also had experiences as “scholasticans”, and they came back to deliver some grand more. If you're a supporter of women's rights, the gothic Druids had the only female vocal. Thank god for that.

As the concert began heating up, shade and birodh started the customary fads. Crowd surfing and stage diving took centre stage. Amplify that with head banging, leaping hands and heart pumping music; one couldn't help but feel animalistic. Meanwhile, some respectable teachers at the back of the hall faced difficulties understanding their own existence. What they had was courage. What they needed was an exit.

As prayer breaks were carried out around 6:30, I peeked into the backstage. Here, different band members retired in a very clean and comfortable area. They even had a white board to sketch “meaningful” cartoons and release some tension. I understood. What we have here are not just musicians, but 'artists' with a sense of humor. They truly are talented.

After DNA's exit, Nemesis took the stage, and they rocked. No questions. Interestingly, peer pressure was not just limited to the crowds “fashion” sense, it even affected Nemesis. Somehow, they realized how important their two ENGLISH numbers were in attracting the scholastican masses. Smart.

The time was 7:30, and everyone could sense an anticipation building. When would Black arrive? Well, Black indeed came, performed …and became digitalized. Yes, they had to face the real weapon of mass destruction. It's technology. Suddenly, 500 people could become super empowered individuals with their camera phones. If anyone could capture a photo of themselves with John or Tony, consider him/her to be “immortal” from now on. Thankfully, Black members had sly grins throughout their appearance. These guys knew how to handle the public. And these guys knew how to finish the program off in style with Obinoshor.

Around 8:30, the audience departed. The night was beautiful, with a gentle breeze blowing. Standing outside the main gates, I noticed the authority finally bringing out the accumulated funding of 1 lakh taka. 47 lakh was still needed for a life. The thought hit me right then. We are not only contributing our finance for Mr.Jaglul Alam, but also gifting him something far more valuable and important.
It's called RESPECT.

By Mashrur Rahman


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2006 The Daily Star