Poor quality of teaching at the secondary and higher secondary levels has led to the disastrous English examination results in the Dhaka University's 'Kha' unit admission test, says Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury.
“Most of the students lack aptitude for learning English. All they care is about getting good marks,” said the Prof Emeritus of DU adding the university admission test results reflected nothing but these typical student attitudes.
Of the total 40,565 examinees, 22,000 failed in English and only two students qualified to be enrolled in the university's English department for the 2014-15 session, according to university sources.
This time, the university had made it compulsory for the applicants to obtain at least 15 marks in 'Elective English', apart from getting the usual 20 marks in the general English, to be enrolled in the department.
Of the 40,565 examinees, only 1,364 took the 'Elective English' test.
The two students who qualified for studying English in DU this year are Jannatul Ferdous Dola and Shahbaz Amin Bhuiyan.
The students did not do good in English in the previous university admission tests as well.
In 2013-14 session, 56 percent of 36,836 students failed in the subject in the 'Kha' unit admission test, records show.
In the same year, 57 percent of 62,917 students did the same in the 'Gha' unit admissions test. It was 76 percent in the 'Ga' unit tests for the same year.
In 2012, a total of 23,040 examinees failed in English in Kha unit, while 33,180 in GA unit and 28,799 in GHA unit.
Many in the social media criticised the applicants' poor performance saying the quality of education was going astray.
The poor performance by the students did not shock him, said Professor Serajul citing the fact that a majority students failed in the same subject in different units' admission test as well.
“Students will continue to do bad in English unless they are encouraged to learn it properly,” he said.
The academic curriculum till the HSC does not focus on the English skills of the students who want to get admitted to the English department, said one of the teachers, preferring not to be named.
“We look for something better from them [students] but in most of the cases we are disheartened.”
“The number of GPA-5 scorers is increasing but the quality of education is not. Two decades ago, the students had more aptitude for English than the current ones,” she added.
“There is a kind of grade inflation in our country. Grades don't reflect the performance of those students who achieved that particular feat,” Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam of the department told The Daily Star recently.
Prof Tahmina Ahmed, English department chairman, said they would contact the faculty dean soon to reconsider the qualifying marks so that no seat remains vacant.
English department sources said they proposed the authorities to enrol applicants considering their marks in general English section, while candidates who got pass mark in the elective English section may be considered eligible for the enrolment in the department.
The English department is to enrol 150 students for the session, and 125 among them are to come from those who sat the 'Kha' unit tests under the Arts Faculty.
The rest would be taken in from those who took the 'Gha' unit test yesterday.