Struggles of a high school alien | 2019-01-27 | daily-sun.com

STUDENTS’ VOICE

Struggles of a high school alien

Gulrukh Majida

27 January, 2019 12:00 AM printer

In Bangladesh, there are two widely known curriculums in the education system. One is the national curriculum in which all the books and systems are formulated according to the government and the other is the International curriculum, mainly the system in which everything is controlled by UK government. Between these two curriculums there is another, less known, as of now, curriculum, known as the English version. In this curriculum, everything is similar to the national curriculum except that, everything is in English. I didn't find this curriculum difference to be of much importance or it to have certain properties unto the extent where it can actually be labelled as a ‘struggle’ until now.

As an ‘army brat’ (a highly overrated and stereotypical title used mostly by children whose parents were or still are in the defense service) I had to change schools very frequently. Almost every two years and it’s because my father was posted to different cantonments throughout the years. This meant new friends, new environment, new everything. It was a lot to handle especially as a kid who struggled to make friends easily. The changing of school phenomenon reached a point where it was hard for my parents to find the curriculum in which I was studying –Cambridge IGCSC, so they decided to switch me to this very new curriculum to which I wasn't familiar to at all, the ‘English version’. My god, what is this, why are all the books so thick, why isn't there a lot of pictures, what happened to my literature and language books and why are they being replaced with this ultra skinny, ridiculous book and has a even more ridiculous name called ‘English for today’.

So many questions. So many. However I wasn't too bothered because most of my friends were switching as well due to the same reason. Years passed by and I finally moved to a much larger school with a diverse population. There was students from every background, every curriculum. I was never the kind of child who was excited to go to school for any reason but this school, changed my perspective on that. I was excited, enthusiastic and super hyped about school. I viewed high school to be a big deal and I wanted to take it seriously. But the one thing I didn't realise and observed was the curriculum discrimination that is widely spread and acts as a disease among majority of the students. Why should a student’s curriculum play a role in forming the outward image of that very student? It’s hard for me to say this but even I am guilty of being a victim of this vile disease.

As a kid, I felt like the kids from the national curriculum weren't cool and it’s mostly because their books weren't printed in English. Now that I am writing this, I am realising even further how stupid it sounds and actually is. I mean, shouldn't things be the opposite if I were to solve it theoretically? Let us suppose hypothetically, there are two students in front of us. They've been chosen for an experiment to understand why most of us naturally form a mindset which supports the idea that students from the international curriculum are ‘better’. Now these two students are from societies that are pretty much the same, they play the same sport, eats the same meal and the only difference is the curriculum. Minus that mindset, considering the difference, there would be no variation between these two students because there is nothing that can potentially discriminate them from each other.

So in the end, it is the mindset that constitutes the discrimination. And what constitutes the mindset is the preconceived idea that anyone who is learned at a different language or manner that is not familiar to us and even if it is familiar, it’s used by people who live in foreign soil. And since language comes into play, it is vital to recognise its importance. Our forefathers didn't fight for our mother language so that 40 years later, we can label people who are using it as ‘uncool’. If anyone is uncool, it is that person who idolizes this idea.

At the end, I am still going to that school where this disease is still prevailing among the vast majority and the only difference is that, I have learnt to overcome and combat a disease that is more stupid than it seems.


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