The International Assessment for Schools (IAS) test is an initiative of Education Assessment Australia under the University of New South Wales. This examination aims to test school students' basic knowledge on a few subjects such as English, Science, Digital Technologies, Mathematics, Spelling and Writing. On April 8, 2016, at an award ceremony organised by Fast Track Education Services at Russian Cultural Centre, Bangladeshi school students won a whopping total of 288 high distinction awards in this test.
Russian Cultural Centre happens to be the place where I won my first ever award for an art competition, so the place holds quite a lot of fond memories for me. Going back there to witness these kids receiving such a prestigious certificate for an international exam at such a tender age was quite an amazing sight. Incredibly enough, Bangladeshi students of grades 3 to 10 won 30 out of the 44 gold medals in the Asian region. I talked to Maisha M Prome, an eleventh grader at Oxford International School who appeared at the exam last year and received gold medals along with high distinction in four subjects.
“I got to know about the IAS examination from my school; the teachers encouraged us to sit for it. But I didn't really have to take any extra preparation for the examination; I mostly relied on the topics that were taught in school. I was very nervous at the start but then I realised there was nothing to be nervous about, as the exam itself is not extremely difficult,” she says. “Winning feels great, but I have to mention that it would've felt much better if there were more people sitting for the test. It would've made the test a lot more competitive and winning these medals would be even more of an achievement.” Maisha's point holds true, as there were 12,000 students sitting for the exam from the 16 countries of the Asian region, and half of these students were from Bangladesh.
This ceremony was organised by Fast Track Education Services, the sole administrator of IAS tests in Bangladesh. Their managing director, Peter Paul D'Costa spoke to me about their endeavour, “We've been conducting this test flawlessly for the last four years, and the number of meritorious students sitting for this exam has been growing steadily. I feel very proud to be able to play a part in nurturing the future leaders of Bangladesh.”
The ceremony was held in two parts, with the first segment only for awarding the students of Oxford International School as they had the highest number of participating students, and the second segment was dedicated to all the other schools that were involved, such as BAF Shaheen English Medium School, Lakehead Grammar School and St. Joseph Higher Secondary School. The participants were overjoyed with their certificates and medals, and the best part was the look of pride in their parents' faces. Hopefully in the following years, this test will become more competitive and Bangladeshi students will succeed in bringing home some more medals.
Aanila Kishwar Tarannum started hating on everything the moment she realized why her parents put so many As in her name: because they knew her transcript would be devoid of any vowels. Find out about her relentless rants at firstname.lastname@example.org