The education system in Bangladesh is flawed, and a TV station recently took it upon themselves to point out exactly how flawed it is. Their approach to this was questionable, as they decided to make a show of the shortcomings of the students under this system, instead of looking for its root cause.
What this resulted in was a show of careless journalism, the kind that only thinks about getting a certain message across – making for sensational news. In a report that caused ripples on social media, a reporter goes around asking basic questions about science, history, and literature to students who achieved GPA 5 in this year's SSC, and almost all the students shown in this report get the answers wrong. Although the names of these students were concealed, their faces weren't blurred, leaving them open to backlash from all sorts of people. Issues like the reactions this message might create and the aftermath that these young subjects of such a report might have to endure went unnoticed. The producers either didn't care, or worse, they didn't see it coming. It's easy for a reporter to round up a bunch of students who got GPA 5 and ask questions, waiting for them to get the answers wrong, but does this paint a fair picture of what the situation really is? Is it fair to the rest of almost a hundred thousand who spent months working hard to achieve their GPA 5?
To set the record straight, yes, there are massive areas of weakness in how students are evaluated in our current system. The number of GPA 5 achievers, the highest possible grade, is way more than it should be, but no one has the right to judge whether or not a student who has already been awarded with a GPA 5 deserves it, especially on national television. It doesn't end there. It's not as if the headline of the report read “Group of undeserving students get away with GPA 5” (not that this would have made things better), it was a criticism on the current state of public education in the country. That kind of generalisation is inconsiderate and misleading. Fearful of stating the obvious, there are many students in this country who know all the answers to all those questions, and they know a lot of things other than that. They now have to face the prospect of being put inside the same bracket as the one established in that report, which is grossly unfair.
There is a problem here that needs to be looked at: there are too many people out there with GPA 5 they probably don't deserve, but it's not as if the students are stealing them, it's being given away and that's what needed to be investigated. The questionable standards of evaluation and a small time cap to check the answer scripts are two reasons anyone can find out by having a five minute conversation with any high school teacher. Teachers and parents are concentrating more on results than on proper education, so talk to them instead of putting the students under a harsh spotlight, because the students aren't part of the problem here, they are the victims.
Azmin Azran is a student at Notre Dame College, preparing for HSC in 2017. Contact him at fb.com/azminazran