The objective of learning at higher level is to ensure qualitative education by creating competent graduates and masters to serve the country. How far has this objective been achieved? Who are getting admission in higher study? Are they competent to have higher education? What's the ultimate result of it? In recent times we are noticing a degrading and regretful conditions of students coming to learn honours course in English under National University or seven colleges under Dhaka University. There is no difference in quality between a student of Dhaka College and Bhola College. They are getting admission on the basis of their academic result or a test of objective questions. This process of admission stops coaching business and saves guardian’s money. But 80% of the seats of Business Studies and English Department are occupied by the students coming from madrasa and technical education. Many of them cannot write a single English sentence correctly.
Recently l have checked test examination scripts of honours first year students that gives me a fearful experience. They do not bother either for capitalization or punctuation marks, and they start a sentence with small letter and use capital letter in the middle of sentence without reason. The condition of third year students is not different. Some of them write the word English in small “english.” They are also writing title of text and books in small letter; even the name of authors is in small; some students keep the name of authors within quotation marks. They are casually using quotation marks or underline for title of text or introducing quotation. Spelling mistakes are really terrible. Some of them are confused with the spelling of writer, writing or written. Write them as “writter” “writting” or “writen.” There is no agreement between subject and verb, and they are careless of sentence construction. It seems that these students have digitalised their writing. In Google search engine if you wrongly write a word such as “abondon,” Google will ask you “do you mean abandon?” and you can correct it. Now it seems that teachers have to be “google teachers” to understand what some students mean in their answer script! This is really a regretful situation; and it makes me overwhelmingly sad.Students don’t bother for relevancy of an answer to questions. They answer a literary question following “panacea method” (same ready made answer for all questions). They fill their script with sentence like “Robert Browning is a great Victorian poet.” “The Patriot” is one of his remarkable poems.” “Browning is famous for his dramatic monologue etc.” They write such sentences without any demand of questions.
It seems that they want to deceive their teachers throwing a counter challenge to find out the answer from their text (writing).
Now a question comes what is the solution to this problem:
I think that we have to seek solutions in two categories. One for the existing students and another for the students who want to get admitted in honours in English. The existing students did not correct their mistakes in primary, high school or H S C level. The teachers have credited their wrong answers and that has to be stopped. The mushroom growth of honours courses in remote areas without necessary educational support should not continue simply for creating posts of teachers. Some of my students asked me sir, how can we develop our writing? I suggest them that first of all you need a change of outlook---take your writing as a discipline. It has punctuation marks or grammar; and when you write a word wrongly, it talks to you: you are writing me wrongly, and you cannot avoid it. Simply by following the rules of capitalisation, punctuation and adding third person singular marker (s /es ) for simple present tense, you can correct 60% of your mistakes. Practice free writing at least one page every day and correct them by yourself, taking the help of Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary. Read more and note down every good or idiomatic expression for future use. Take your teachers help if necessary.
The communicative approach has already proved a failure for lacking scope of practicing four skills—reading ,writing , listening and speaking--in a crowded class of 200 or more. In the past our students could produce correct sentences. So we need an approach suitable for our situations—a mixed approach of GTM and CLT may give a better result.
Next comes the matter of admission process. The present admission system is based on academic transcript or multiple choice test. For various reasons a bad student may have good academic result or a good student may have bad academic performance. So, academic transcripts should not be the be-all and end-all of evaluating a student. The process has to be revised with a blending of multiple choice and written composition. Contribution of academic transcript has to be minimized. It is necessary to let the students know that the job market for English graduates has shrunk. So, they must select a subject that has demand in job market.
The writer is an Associate Professor of Dhaka College. Email : shahadat. [email protected]