While walking to office from Mouchak to Eskaton I entered a cooperative shop as I had time enough to reach my office in time. Sitting in a corner I was drinking a mini pack of chocolate milk. I saw two white uniformed girls were reading guide books sitting in the shop just before attending the HSC English exam. Their fathers, like obedient boys, were sitting idle to accompany the daughters. While searching another food items I came by a girl who was reading the guide books in front of her father. However, we talked about the English exam. Whata she told was amusing. She felt happy saying that she had been watching the American channels since one year back of the Presidential election. She termed Mr. Donald Trump a fun. She was educated in English medium school up to eight grades and then transferred into Bangla medium. She told that to her Bangla is a difficult subject. However, she spoke fluent English.
When I asked about her reading topic ‘cloze test’, she retorted that she used to go through the gaps and feels which one is suitable to fill the given gaps. She tried to escape my query to solve the gaps. She argued that Grammar is not necessary to learn.
Then 1 requested her for a writing pad and wrote “I have received your letter yesterday.” I asked whether it is incorrect. She replied, “It is more or less correct.” I sought explanation of using “more or less”. Then she expressed her confusion between ‘more’ and ‘less’. She argued that in speaking English it is correct. Then I asked her about the writing in English form. She told that exam time is getting closer and she has to read another page of the Guide Books. We bid farewell. I did not even ask her name and college because that was not my subject. My attention was to the culture of reading guide books.
Proverb says ‘Education is the backbone of a Nation’ but now I say ‘Guide book is the backbone of Education’, isn’t it? When I asked the examinee the cause of reading such a gigantic guide book she retorted that questions are not common from the textbook. It is believed that all the questions are from the guide books. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the question moderators are used to typing the questions from the guide books. ‘Why do I read the Textbook?’ asked the examinee. Can one imagine where the trust of the students stands now? They do believe that reading the text book means ultimate failure in the exam.
Even the renowned (by quantity of passing, not by quality) colleges in Dhaka city read the guide books in the classes, let alone the remote areas. I instructed the examinee that only some words, grammar and an English newspaper are enough to learn and answer English questions.
Then her father nodded. A heavy guide book is a burden to knowledge even though the students carry it in their school bags. The teachers do not give marks if the answer is not similar to the guide book lines. They never encourage free thinking and writing of the learners. The creative method designs the mark distribution. So there is little chance to write in different moods. Whatever a student writes gets mark. A student never gets zero in the creative method. The quality of writing is not evaluated.
By this way some 21 lakh educated people enter the job market each year where only 3 lakhs so far get work. The number of unemployed people gets higher during the 2013 – 2015 sessions that counts some 36 lakh. What does this number of people do? Do they go abroad with foreign employment? Those cannot bag a job here in Bangladesh. How can they dream of having jobs in overseas lands? It results that they dare to cross the border legally or illegally. All seems absurd! This hampers ethical recruitment in overseas employment.
Population can be manpower if it is nursed with quality education. Guide book oriented education can never be the backbone of any nation. The sooner it is realised the better.
Golam Kader Mukut, Assistant Secretary, BAIRA