At the fag end of August, a promising young woman’s life met a tragic end as she was gang-raped and killed on a moving bus by the five staffers of the bus around midnight. According to the victim’s brother’s account her sister, who worked for a multinational company in Mymensingh, went to her home in Sirajganj to sit for teachers’ registration exam in Bogra.
On the fateful day, she got on a Mymensingh bound bus after her exam in the evening. All passengers of the bus got down at their respective destinations leaving the woman, who was still on it, alone on the bus for the last stoppage. As the vehicle entered the remote area of Madhupur forest, the five brutes swooped on, violated and ensured her death by breaking her neck before dumping the body at the jungle. Since I came to know the incident, one of the things that has gone through my mind is whether the incident was avoidable any way.
This piece, however, is not intended to recount the incidents of raping or gang-raping that seemingly have taken an epidemic turn in recent times. Neither does it to suggest or find out a solution to raping or a crime of this sort. Rather, its purpose is somewhat different. Let’s consider the case of one of my friends, who has been confined to a wheelchair since he lost his walking ability due to polio, completed his graduation from a local a college under national university. Struggles or hardships for a disable person in the country to access to education, educational institution or employment bagger description as the opportunities for them are too scarce. And it would pose a daunting challenge to the friend every time when it came to travelling to the capital from the outlying district for taking a recruitment exam as a part of finding an employment. I often wondered whether there was any way to minimise sufferings that would relieve him from coming to Dhaka for taking a test.
Statistics shows every year more than 2 million youths enter the labour market of the country. A major portion of it cannot usually afford to secure an employment of their choice. But their efforts are not stopped there; they pursue the goal of achieving the coveted job. Reasonably, they have to undergo recruitment tests in the process. The problem is almost all exams and interviews are invariably held in Dhaka, for which candidates are to come in and attend the tests on time. Not surprisingly, most of the job seekers are from remote districts and many of them have no place to stay in Dhaka. As a result, many them stay at bus or rail stations overnight, and go directly in the morning to the exam centres located at different places of the city.
We know Dhaka city is already overburdened by its overcrowded population. The problems are compounded by nagging traffic jam, water logging, shortage of vehicles, paucity of accommodation and amenities and that sufferings multiply not only for the aspirant employment seekers who come here in their thousands but also for the regular city dwellers. Worse still, hassles are manifold for candidates with disability and the women who have no other option but to be accompanied by a guardian or family member who also has to suffer all the while. Many of the guardians are seen anxiously waiting at the gates of the exam centres to be opened.
Several months ago, more than 2 lakhs of applicants sat for a banking recruitment exam in two shifts as it was not possible to manage sitting arrangements for such a huge number of candidates at one go. Since time immemorial, applicants of each and every employment exam are called in Dhaka from across the country. This system needs to be changed. If recruitment authorities want, they can easily sort out the candidates of the first phase using digital and online process. Types of question papers of various recruitment exams suggest that job seekers can take these tests online even by sitting across a computer at home or a digital centre, according to experts.
In this process, tests must be held online and candidates will be able to answer them by searching on the internet and looking into their books. Yet, the aim of the exam will not be derailed. Firstly, because, the category of question will be such that the person who actually knows the answer, and who takes help of Internet or books for it, will be easily differentiated. Secondly, because, if more than one candidate appear at the exam at a time, the order of their question will not be the same. This can be easily done by applying good programming logic. Not only that, examinees will know about the result immediately after finishing their tests. Consequently, it will be easier to select aspirants for the next phase of the recruitment process.
At present, there has been a much improvement in ICT infrastructure in the country. Every union of the country has digital centre, Sheikh Russel Digital Lab has been established in many schools, most of the markets have cyber centres, and on top of these, some 6 crores of people use internet on their mobile phones. Therefore, it is easily conceivable from these that around 90 per cent of the job seekers can take employment or an enrolment exam sitting at their respective areas. In addition, as the exam will be held online, the activities related to exams, from submitting of applications online to giving tests, could be accomplished within a short time.
As I was saying, we may not prevent the rape incidents entirely but we can definitely reduce the scope of such happenings by taking some steps. For instance, had the teachers’ registration exam been online, the women in question would not have required for travelling to her own districts, thereby, the incident could be avoided. At a time, the ordeals of my disabled friend would have been minimised. Overall, it is not possible for the government and the various organisations of the country to provide employments for such overwhelming number of youths as per their choice and potential. But they can ease the sufferings of the group to a large extent by introducing ICT in their recruitment process.
The writer is an Associate Engineer, Thakral Information Systems Pvt. Ltd. Cell: 01713197662; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org