I studied in the Department of English and Humanities at University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB). In ULAB, students, teachers and other officials are systematically bound to wear their ID badges inside the campus. The moment a student wants to get in, he/she must show his/her ID badge which has a navy blue ribbon. Then the security guard will identify him/her as a student of the institution. Students, teachers, officials and visitors--every single position can easily be identified and distinguished by only noticing the colour of the ribbons. And it is absolutely and unhesitatingly possible, because everyone--from the Vice Chancellor to the students--wears ID. It was my habit to wear my ID badge and keep on hanging it around my neck as long as I stayed inside the campus. I felt so proud of my identity. After successfully completing my third year with good grades, I became a Teaching Assistant. The HR office provided me a new ribbon of white colour. It means I was promoted to another level where I could be identified as a student-cum-TA! I was so happy and proud. I sincerely acknowledged the privileges of having a white ribbon. I was allowed to use the faculty lift. I was allowed to enter teacher's lounge and get myself a cup of KK green tea anytime I needed. It was all possible because of my ID badge. It not only secured my position as a part of the institution but also added a sense of belongingness to my essence.
However, nowadays I have noticed that in many institutions, students do not prefer to wear their ID badges. They carry the badges inside their bags, but do not visibly wear them around their necks. I will never blame the authorities. It is an official rule for everyone to wear ID badges inside the campus. Then what would be the reason? I started wearing my badge after just joining the department as a teacher. Then I noticed that almost nobody wears it. So, I went with the flow and stopped showcasing my identity. Then one day when I asked my students to put on their badges, one of them rightfully asked me if it is mandatory for the students only. He asked me, "why don't our teachers also wear their IDs?" I thought he was right. And I immediately put on my badge. From then on, I always wear it. I feel good about myself. I ask my students something which I myself devotedly practice. So, teachers and officials should (if I am allowed to use this suggestive word "should") wear their ID badges in order to motivate the students.Now, what is the significance of wearing ID badge inside the campus? One of my students said, "why would we need an ID badge when we are inside? We may need it when we are outside of the campus". Well, my simple and straightforward answer to this question is, you need to wear your own badge so that you can be safe and secured inside your campus. If the guards allow everyone to enter the premises of the campus without an ID, many people may get into your campus to cause harm. It will ruin the peaceful environment of your campus as well as risk your own life. This is why, you must wear your badge while entering the periphery of your campus.
Another reason of wearing ID badge is to be identified as a student. Teachers and officials also wear IDs. How can someone distinguish between a teacher and a student? The distinction remains clearly in the ribbon. The colour of your ribbon will reveal your identity. Even it can determine the department also. It is important to be identified as the person you really are. So, you must wear your badge to avoid confusion and embarrassing situations.
One of my students commented, "while wearing our IDs, we look like bankers". Interestingly, bankers also have their own company ID badges. They also have to wear it so that they can be identified as the employees of a particular bank. So, it is actually about belongingness. An ID badge let you feel that you belong to the institution. I can give a practical example to clarify my point. When two people of the opposite sexes live together in an apartment or flat, we can identify them in two ways--either they are married or they are just living together. What could be their true identity? The answer remains in the document called "marriage certificate". If they have a legal marriage certificate, they can be identified as husband and wife. They belong to each other. They belong to this social institution called "marriage". As long as they have their document, they belong. Similarly, when a student has his ID badge with him/her, he/she surely belongs to the institution. After passing four years, a student needs to submit his ID to the registration office. It means from then on, he/she does not belong here anymore. Once a student submits the ID, he/she becomes an ex-student. So, to know and show your belongingness, you must wear your ID badge inside the campus.
The elaboration of ID is identification. A person has multiple identities. I am a wife and a mother at my place. But I am a teacher in my institution. To confirm my identity, I have been given a badge to wear. When I am inside my campus, I must wear my ID badge. So, I urge my students and the students of other institutions across the country to wear their ID badges inside the campus. You are an academic part of your institution. To confirm your identity as a student, wear your ID. I hope to see all my students proudly wearing their ID badges daily.
The writer is a Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, Premier University Chittagong