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     Volume 4 Issue 70 | November 11, 2005 |

   News Notes
   Cover Story
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8teen and today's youth
I enjoyed 8teen's "Trading Values for Money" in the last issue of SWM. It is true that, along with problems like drugs and sex, young people today have other equally serious -- if not more so -- issues. "Rich daddy's kid" syndrome is common among the very well-to-do. I've actually seen kids in Dhaka -- and not only girls for security reasons -- who have never ridden a rickshaw or CNG-scooter, thinking such modes of transport beneath them. I have also had first hand experience of the Bangla-banned English medium schools. As a student there, I had the same feelings as 8teen. It's fine for English medium schools to encourage speaking English, but how can you practically ban anyone from speaking in their own mother tongue, that too at a school in their motherland? I think it's an insult to both the language and the nation as a whole. Again, as 8teen pointed out, a lot of the problems kids have today are accepted, if not encouraged by, their parents. As far as young children or teenagers are concerned, the attitudes and teachings of their parents or guardians are very important in shaping the attitudes and values of the younger generation. The older generation should keep this in mind and act accordingly if they hope to instill some basic values in the younger generation which will help them throughout their lives.

Price hike of paper
Education is the backbone of a nation, a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. Paper is essential for education. Its price, however, has recently gone up. The student community has protested this. In Bangladesh, most students are not financially well-off and such a rise in the price of paper is an added burden. We, the students, request the government to normalise the price increase of educational materials.
Saleh Md. Shahriar
Department of Political Science
Chittagong University

Premier Bank and EPL -- white collar crime
I recently read an article that a criminal case has been filed against Premier Bank and "EPL" for the IPO scandal, I was glad to see some follow-up from the previous articles and was wondering how many others have gotten away with this. These people should have their licenses suspended and not be allowed to head any other financial institution either; they should be named and shamed and "blacklisted" otherwise they will repeat the offence. The sacking of one of the EPL Directors is an old and pathetic "make-him-the-scapegoat" trick. With a small local firm doing such a large IPO, we can hardly believe that the higher level people had no knowledge of all activities pertaining to Premier Bank. The people of Bangladesh and the SEC are not that naive and hopefully the truth will come out in the investigation. Maybe the sacked man can use the "I was just following orders" defence in return. The SEC should take a hard line against these kinds of crimes against the economy where people try to "get rich quick." This does not mean a pathetic 1 lakh fine slap on the wrist in return for a potential 50 crore payoff -- that is hardly a disincentive to stop. If they do get a light punishment, we can safely assume that they had the right connections in the right places.
A. Khan

Eid -- not all that happy
After every Eid holiday, the newspapers are full of accident stories. Road accidents take hundreds of lives every year in our country. Many of them can be avoided. From basic faults of vehicles, like missing headlights and, basically being unfit, the carelessness of the reckless drivers cause these accidents, or rather collisions, for one can hardly call events that could have been avoided accidents. From the authorities responsible for checking the fitness of vehicles to traffic police and police in general, everyone has a part to play in helping to prevent accidents. Most of all, however, it depends on the skill and attitude of the drivers. One, they need to be proper drivers and two, they need to feel responsible for the vehicle and passengers they carry, not putting their lives at risk. But if this doesn't come naturally, then laws and their strict enforcement is the only thing that might work and we are in dire need of them.
Gulshan 2

TI report and fundamentalism
Our motherland achieved a glorious independence some 34 years ago after a war of bloodshed and sacrifice. The aim of our liberation was to make our nation one of peace, harmony and equality where people are happy, prosperous and enjoy human rights. But, starting from the killing of the leader of our liberation war, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, we have failed in all this. Labelled as the most corrupt nation in the world by Transparency International for the fifth time in a row and the rise in fundamentalism with the recent bomb blasts across the country, this has become obvious. Are we going to fail in the promises made during our independence? We must take proper steps to eliminate the root causes which have tarnished the image of our country.
Momtazul Hoq Pappu
Department of Chemistry
Chittagong University

Making the jobless penniless too
Many people can't apply for jobs because of the high costs involved. Many job applications require an application, a pay order or bank draft, two colour photographs, etc. This is a job in itself. A few days ago, an advertisement from Non-Government Teachers Registration and Certificate Authority (NTRCA) of the Education Ministry. It is a good step to ensure the quality of teachers of private schools and colleges. But the costs involved were astonishing. The requirements include an application form for Tk 50, an exam fee of Tk 350 and of course the conveyance and postage charges. Moreover, all this doesn't guarantee a job, only applying for one. Nowadays many government and private organisations require pay orders or bank drafts of Tk 100 to Tk 300 for recruitment tests. They obviously don't need al the money for the exams and do this for some extra profit. An unemployed person may need to apply for three or four jobs on average. This becomes very difficult for jobless people already struggling to survive. We should stop increasing the suffering of the already poor, helpless unemployed.
Md. Sohel Saklain

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