Student Life Dilemmas
It is a place for the young and the valiant, you could say. As soon as you cross through the main gates, and into the building, haphazard queues come into view. It seems endless and time and again erupts into groans of protest. The frowned faces and shuffling feet show signs of impatience. Such is the scene you confront each time a new semester is about to roll in. Departments packed with students and courses limited in number to choose from and the battle begins! Ever since the private sector took a bold step in saving our flailing education system, there has been significant improvement, no doubt. Yet, the winds of change did not exactly cleanse all the anomalies away. With it came fresh predicaments, the above mentioned situation being one, that make Undergraduation years not as carefree or smooth as most envision it to be.
In departments like BBA or CSE, where large sections of the student body attend, fishing out that much-needed course turns out to be quite the mad chase. One friend aiming to major in Finance, once complained that after having completed more than two years of the programme, he is yet to get hold of one open Concentration course. Having no other choice, he opted to fill up his credits taking courses that do not determine his major. Such occurrences are bound to happen when a university fails to offer a wider range of concentration modules to its teeming number of students.
Things take a turn for the worse when first-year students are forced to take certain 100 level courses that teach things that have been already been ingrained into minds since school days. 'Learning' them from text books sitting in a university classroom is surely the most farcical situation a competent student can ever be caught in. University authority gives the reason that students have been placed in these courses according to their admission test results, ignoring the potential of students who simply consider it as a waste of their time and money. And of course, there are the non-credit courses for which students pay the same amount as other courses but do not attain any credit, as they find themselves learning simple divisions if it is a Mathematic course or underlining nouns in an English course. Such practices make classroom experience utterly mundane and infinitely ridiculous.
It does not take a genius to arrive to the conclusion that the curriculum is urgently in need of amelioration. It comes as a matter of shock when a recent graduate of a top ranking local university applying for Masters programme, was rejected by a highly ranked UK university on the grounds that the Honors curriculum they found him to have studied is not equivalent to the curriculum of that particular university, even though the individual met all the other requirements perfectly. The admission team informed him later on that they would consider his honours degree equivalent to theirs only when he completes another year for a Masters degree. Distressing times to be a student!
Catching classes on time proves to be another ordeal for those who commute through the Dhaka streets. In the absence of a private car, braving the traffic every single day can be similar to undertaking a rite of passage! Walking for stretches and ultimately finding a safe transport that also charges a reasonable fare turns out to be a grueling task for girls and boys alike. A female student who regularly commutes in a CNG said how she is always on the guard, and sometimes, even ready to leap out if she senses anything suspiciousin the way the driver is driving or if a motorbike or rickshaw carrying a group of young men venture in too close to the CNG. Quite an impossible feat to sense it right since erratic driving coupled with congestion on the streets account for false alarms all the way!
There are students living in Dhanmondi who aiming to get into Brac, East West, IUB or NSU, ultimately opt out, taking the impossible commuting into consideration, and instead get into universities in and around Dhanmondi. One will always wonder why a private university, having set a high tuition fee, fails to provide something as basic as transport for its students. The everyday ordeal of commuting takes a toll on students' health and, eventually, their academic performance.
We have come a long way. It is not uncommon to hear about our students setting their sails for foreign degrees or going out on exchange programmes, receiving many a pat on their backs, and sometimes bringing back trophies. Having come this far where Bangladesh continues to sit on the global map through contribution of its youth, here's hoping that the university students of this country get every chance to be recognized and celebrated as their boundless potential is yet to be tapped.
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