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Bangladesh education curriculum to undergo significant changes

Big changes are coming to pre-primary school to high school levels’ education system. Whether students will study in the science section or any other section will be determined in class eleven. From class six to ten, everyone will have to learn the same ten subjects.

National curriculum and textbook board (NCTB) is working to refine the curriculum from pre-primary school to high school with such a proposal and plan. According to the refined curriculum, class one, class two and class six students will receive new textbooks next year. Gradually other classes will get new books.

The curriculum will be finalized within the next march and it will be fully implemented by the year 2025.

The number of books will also decrease. Subject matters will change. And SSC examination will be held based on only class ten’s curriculum. Two public examinations will be held in class eleven and class twelve, based on which HSC results will be published.

Two members of NCTB said to sources that some matters are almost finalized, and some are in the planning process. The committee comprising education experts and NCTB officers along with personnel from other levels are working to refine the Curriculums.

Primary school to high school level’s curriculums were last changed in 2012.

Primary level

According to NCTB, there will be no normal examination up to class three.

“The Curriculum is being designed in such a way to promote active learning in the students for acquiring requisite skills.”

According to Professor AKM Riazul Hasan, member (primary Curriculums) of NCTB

Schools up to class three will carry out a continuous evaluation. The books will be designed in such a way so that they can be taught practically. The names of the books may also be changed. For example, the mathematics book may be named ‘Fun in Maths’.

Former chairman of Jessore Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board, Amirul Alam Khan told that those who understand the whole education system should be the ones to design the curriculum appropriate for the day and age that we are in.

There will be ten books from class six to class ten

According to the proposed curriculum, all students from class six to class ten will be taught using the same ten subject. Then in class eleven, an opportunity for choosing sections will be given. Currently, students have to study the same books up to class eight and in class nine, students have to transfer into science, arts or business sections. The proposed curriculum set out the following ten books to be taught from class six to class ten: Bengali, English, Mathematics, Science, Information and Communication Technology, Social Science, Life & Work, Religion, Health Education, and Arts & Culture. Currently, in these classes, twelve to fourteen subjects are taught.

Shahan Ara Begam, principal of Motijheel Ideal School & College has said that the decision of decreasing the number of books is a positive one. But she also said that the subjects should be implemented in such a way that students can learn the Bengali language and other subjects well.

SSC examination to be held based on the curriculum of class ten

At the time, the SSC examination is held based on the curriculums of both classes nine and ten. In the refined curriculum, it has been planned that SSC examination will be taken based only on the curriculum of class ten. A member of NCTB told that skills that are to be learned in class nine are tested in the educational institute itself already. Students get to class ten after passing class nine. Therefore, only class ten’s curriculum will be considered for SSC examination and thus, pressure on students will also decrease. If this is approved, it will be realized in 2024.

Education Course expert Professor Siddiqur Rahman considered the initiative to choose sections in class eleven a positive one. He said that as the country improved itself, the pillar of education must be strengthened in tandem. So, every student should be brought up to be as capable as possible by class ten. To this end, how much science, arts, or business studies should be taught needs to be determined carefully.

Two public examinations in higher secondary school level

If the plan is passed, by the year 2025, students will choose their sections in class eleven. There will twelve papers in higher secondary schools. Among these, Bengali, English, and Information and Communication Technology will be mandatory for everyone. Along with these, students will take three subjects of the section that they choose, each of which will consist of three papers. The class eleven examination will be held on the mandatory three subjects and the first part of each section wise subjects. This examination will be held under the supervision of the Education Board. The results will be preserved by the board. Then in class twelve, the students will sit for the examination on the rest of the subjects. Class twelve’s result and class eleven’s result will be combined to determine a student’s HSC result.

There are also talks of giving some flexibility regarding section choice.

If this is allowed, then students can take a subject from another section along with two subjects of his chosen section if he wants to.

A higher officer of NCTB further told that even though there will be two examinations, students will ultimately experience decreased pressure. The subjects on which examination is being taken at once currently will be divided between class eleven and class twelve.

Professor Md. Mashiuzzaman, member (curriculum) of NCTB told that many matters are under discussion. The curriculum will be finalized in February and March.

Why does ragging exist in our universities? Answers and confessions

Cover art: Nasif Chowdhury

Over the years, ragging has become a tradition in Bangladeshi universities. Behind the facade of welcoming the new students, ragging is a notorious practice where the seniors get an excuse to harass their junior counterparts and often target them to satiate their own sadistic pleasures. For decades, ragging has been discussed and debated, but while we all have been looking for solutions, there is little effort to figure out why it is even being practised in universities to this day.

It is yet to be understood that ragging is not merely a socio-legal problem, it has a certain psychological basis too.

Just like how every crime has some sort of motive, a bully, too, has something to accomplish through the act of ragging.

Let’s take a look at some of the psychological reasons behind ragging and bullying in universities.

A sense of authority

Most bullies seem to constantly fail to establish control over their own lives. So, when they get a freshman or a junior at their command, they nurture a sense of authority that boosts their morale and put them on a high. This is more like an alternative way for them to somehow fill that huge void in their lives.

“I loved being on the campus all day because they would do anything to be on good terms with me. I’d rather stay there all day than go home, things weren’t that easy back home.”

– Anonymous

A ticket into the influential crowd

Often bullies live under the misconception that ragging is a fashion statement these days and that it can help them get into the ‘influential crowd’ in their universities.

Peer pressure

It is also true that not all the seniors involved with ragging do it because they enjoy doing it, or even do it at their own will. What they really want is to not feel left out as they see their friends and batchmates indulge in ragging their juniors. So, due to the fear of isolation, they end up joining the herd in the act.

Means of retaliation

Seniors who have a previous history of getting ragged often rag their juniors as a means of revenge for what they had to go through.

“I was not someone who liked ragging juniors. It’s just that, having gotten ragged as a junior myself. It sometimes felt like a need to give my juniors a subtle taste of what I had to go through. I regret it though”

-Anonymous

The satisfaction of sadistic pleasures

Many bullies in universities see ragging as an opportunity to satiate their sadistic pleasures. People with twisted minds who find pleasure in seeing others suffer, they exist. The reasons can include issues like bad childhood memories, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), bad parenting etc.

No matter what psychology works behind this behaviour, ragging is not okay and there is nothing that can justify this awful act. However, it’s important to identify the reasons for an issue in order to fix it from the core.

The Oxford Student Union has a Bangladeshi president. Meet Anisha Faruk

First of all, I feel weird about this; rejoicing in the success of a person we share little more than ethnicity with. It feels like we’re claiming some credit where none is due. It’s all her, people. She did it because she’s good. Her success is hers.

Anisha Faruk aka Padma; a lady of Bangladeshi origin, has been elected the president of the student union of Oxford University. Her father is Bangladesh Army major Faruk Ahmed(retired).

Padma is completing her undergraduate program as a historian.

She previously occupied the co-chair position of the Oxford University Labour Club. And she was the editor-in-chief of The Oxford Student, the largest student journal of the University. So she’s no stranger to great responsibility and respect.

Ms Anisha beat tough competition from independent candidate Ivy Manning and Ellie Milne-Brown; who represented the reputed Aspire panel. This was a historic election with a 20.3 per cent participation rate. Ms Anisha promoted diversity as the primary strong point of her panel.

With this, the trend of the continued success of our compatriot overseas continues. We can only hope to match and exceed the success our peers are enjoying. And we hope to leave a blazing trail of achievements by Bangladeshis across the world.

Debating for development: UNFPA Bangladesh Youth Dialogue

From November 12-14, 2019, the Government of Kenya, the Government of Denmark, and UNFPA are convening the Nairobi Summit, a high-level conference to advance the implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action. The conference will offer an inclusive platform, bringing together governments, UN agencies, civil society, private sector organisations, women’s groups and youth networks to discuss and agree on actions to accelerate the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.

On September 6, 2019, UNFPA Bangladesh in collaboration with Bangladesh Debating Council (BDC) and Independent University, Bangladesh Debating club (IUBDC) launched a two-day debate tournament at the premises of Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB).

The tournament was organised with an objective to engage the youth, where the participants from universities – both public and private – can engage in an extensive discussion on how the realisation of the ICPD Agenda is intrinsic to sustainable economic growth for Bangladesh.

Their voices echoed through the debates on a range of topics that are close to UNFPA’s agenda. The ideas and recommendations of the participants will be presented to the stakeholders of national and international development to the Summit.

The debate tournament addressed real-world issues and brought out the voice of the youth on problems like disseminating messages on specific ICPD themes: sexual reproductive health and rights, maternal health, prevent violence against women and child marriage. To empower and involve them to disseminate these issue-based messages to their peers and to bring the attention of policymakers about the needs of youth-based SRHR services: prevention of child marriage, maternal mortality and violence against women. To build awareness among adolescents and youth about the opportunities and challenges associated with them.

To mark the Summit, 16 teams from reputed public and private universities from Dhaka, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet and Chattogram were invited to participate in this competition, along with 22 most reputed judges in the debate circuit. The teams had four preliminary rounds of debate that were carried out on September 6. All the teams faced off against each other where the top four teams at the end of the preliminary rounds qualified for the finals held on September 7, 2019.

The championship went to Independent University, Bangladesh Debate Club (IUBDC) with the runners-up award going to IBA, University of Dhaka.

The debates were followed by a youth-centric plenary session opened by Dr Asa Torkelsson, Representative of UNFPA whose opening remarks echoed the vision of the UNFPA.

“UNFPA has been working with and for young people since our inception. Our partnerships with young people are, and must always be, based on their active and meaningful participation. In order to achieve the ICPD Agenda from 25 years ago, we need to take account of your experiences, concerns and stories to shape an inclusive future for you, who will also help us achieve the SDGs.”

She said

The speech was followed by a presentation on the topic by UNFPA Deputy Representative, Eiko Narita. Following that Sakib Bin Rashid, Instructor at 10 Minute School, Ashreen Mridha, Bangladesh Women’s National Basketball Team Player, and Umama Zillur, Founder of Kotha, led an interactive session covering youth leadership, women empowerment and sexual violence.

“On behalf of the entire English debating community of Bangladesh I am honoured that the UNFPA entrusted us to help crowdsource important ideas to be taken into consideration at Nairobi, this validates that the time the youth spend behind researching and generating discourse on these crucial ideas do indeed matter and has encouraged us all to keep the discourse going so that our ideas and voices can play a role in the ever changing global landscape.”

Said Fardeen Ameen, the Chair of Bangladesh Debating Council

Sex education to be introduced in school and madrasa curriculum of Bangladesh

Within the span of ten years, the education board has added and changed quite a few things in the curriculum here and there. However, recently the government has decided to take the initiative to launch “Sex-Reproductive Health Education” program which is quite a breakthrough for our schools and madrasas.

The brain behind the initiative

“Generation Break Through” will run the program accordingly in schools and other educational institutions around the country. The Secondary and Higher Education Department has been working on this project for about 20 to 25 years.

In an interview with Dhaka Tribune, Project Director and Director (Planning and Development) Dr Mohammad Jahangir Hossain mentioned in that the program took place in some schools and madrasas as “Phase One”. Since the program was running successfully, the government has decided to put it in under all schools and madrasas accordingly. With the end of a successful phase, the second phase of this program will start from this year. However, the official launch of this subject will occur around 2021-2022.

Better late than never

In the beginning, there were some concerns as most teachers and education institutions were doubtful of the program. However, with proper training funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the project broke through the stereotypes by taking small and steady steps. According to the sources, despite the “social constricting” ideologies, parents in most education institutions took an interest in the program.

Elementary and middle school students are studying under this program through sports at ‘Gender Equality for All Corner’ or ‘Teenage Corner’ established in the institutions. From the second phase onward, the program will have strict rules to accommodate trained teachers, fixed content and the consistent habit of creating a healthy environment for the students.

Small steps to a safer space

In a society where sexual abuse of both genders has increased at an alarming rate, sex education is a very crucial step for us. The idea of consent is much more diverse than we think of it to be.

“Be it a village or an urban society youths are sexually active, so they must know the dos and don’ts about safe sex and hygiene, in order to make the right decisions with situations like these”

Says Nusrat Zahid, a student of Bangladesh University of Professionals, when asked about her take on this new program.

The fundamental knowledge about sexual reproductive health and safe sex will bring awareness among youths and their surroundings.

Sex education to be introduced in school and madrasa curriculum of Bangladesh

Within the span of ten years, the education board has added and changed quite a few things in the curriculum here and there. However, recently the government has decided to take the initiative to launch “Sex-Reproductive Health Education” program which is quite a breakthrough for our schools and madrasas.

The brain behind the initiative

“Generation Break Through” will run the program accordingly in schools and other educational institutions around the country. The Secondary and Higher Education Department has been working on this project for about 20 to 25 years.

In an interview with Dhaka Tribune, Project Director and Director (Planning and Development) Dr Mohammad Jahangir Hossain mentioned in that the program took place in some schools and madrasas as “Phase One”. Since the program was running successfully, the government has decided to put it in under all schools and madrasas accordingly. With the end of a successful phase, the second phase of this program will start from this year. However, the official launch of this subject will occur around 2021-2022.

Better late than never

In the beginning, there were some concerns as most teachers and education institutions were doubtful of the program. However, with proper training funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the project broke through the stereotypes by taking small and steady steps. According to the sources, despite the “social constricting” ideologies, parents in most education institutions took an interest in the program.

Elementary and middle school students are studying under this program through sports at ‘Gender Equality for All Corner’ or ‘Teenage Corner’ established in the institutions. From the second phase onward, the program will have strict rules to accommodate trained teachers, fixed content and the consistent habit of creating a healthy environment for the students.

Small steps to a safer space

In a society where sexual abuse of both genders has increased at an alarming rate, sex education is a very crucial step for us. The idea of consent is much more diverse than we think of it to be.

“Be it a village or an urban society youths are sexually active, so they must know the dos and don’ts about safe sex and hygiene, in order to make the right decisions with situations like these”

Says Nusrat Zahid, a student of Bangladesh University of Professionals, when asked about her take on this new program.

The fundamental knowledge about sexual reproductive health and safe sex will bring awareness among youths and their surroundings.

Bangladesh moves to make technical education compulsory in every school

Photograph by: Saikat Mojumder

In the midst of all our hopelessness and complaints about our education system, there’s perhaps one silver lining at last. Our education system is finally about to include compulsory vocational education at the school level.

The Education Minister of Bangladesh, Dipu Moni, expressed the necessity of implementing technical and vocational education in the education system of the schools in Bangladesh. She stated that every school has to make technical and vocational training compulsory from 2021.

“Every school must have at least two trades from which each student will choose one. If any student fails to complete higher education, he or she must get employed under the chosen programme.”

She stated.

Read more: Bangladesh earns the highest rate of trust in vaccines, France the lowest

Dipu Moni also added that the government wishes to develop this particular sector of education. So in essence, the process of reforming the education system has already started. And we can hope that a bright future lies ahead of us!

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Want to study abroad? Things you need to consider before the big decision

Let’s be honest. It’s so exciting and easy to dream about studying abroad and getting to discover and experience new places and cultures. So exciting that we often forget that it’s not as simple as it seems. And so before you know, your dreams of earning a foreign degree might turn into a nightmare without proper consideration and preparation.

So are you really made for this? If so, are you really ready yet?

It’s true that you don’t have to have the personality of an experienced globetrotter to study abroad but you need to be a few things. Here’s your checklist before you even consider studying abroad for a foreign degree as an option.

1. The new responsibilities:

First of all, you need to be honest with yourself. Wanting to be mature, independent, and consistently on top of things is okay, but you need to face the reality. Everyone who goes abroad for higher studies will be facing new responsibilities. There will be no one there to make sure you attend your classes or your hand in intelligible essays while maintaining your chores. You would need to arrive with a willingness to take responsibility for yourself.

“Finding a place to live in, cooking and cleaning while studying and working, handling the never-ending paper works- all on my own, thousands of miles away from home; it’s intimidating!” said Ishrat, a first year at the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

2. Letting go:

Let’s get real. You will have to be able to give up seeing your family and let go of your rigid circle of friends. You’ll be there all alone while they’ll all be back at home. Truth is they’ll move on and adjust at some point to living without you. You will have to do the same without letting it affect you because you’ll be having essays to work on.

“Letting go of my family for 4 entire years was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s so hard to concentrate when you constantly feel homesick!” said Anik, Texas University Arlington, USA.

3. Adapting:

It’s obvious that when you’re studying abroad, wherever you go, you’ll have to face new accents, foods, social situations, and traditions. You can’t expect vacations or time offs for Eid and Pujas. You need to be adaptable and flexible.

“Dealing with culture shock was a real challenge for me but thankfully my extrovert nature helped me adapt very easily. However, I’ve seen my introvert friends suffering to adjust so hard. It’s really important to prepare yourself first if you’re not extremely adaptive” said Dyuti, Auckland University, New Zealand.

4. Multitasking:

It’s impossible to adjust out there alone if you’re not a multitasker. Unless you’re living with family members out there, you will have to do all your household chores like cleaning or cooking for yourself while you excel in your studies and work after classes! Also, what’s the point of all the hard work to get there if you can’t plan a few trips around? Exactly. Multitasking is the key to surviving out there.

“I did my research before applying so I knew how it was going to be. It’s really helpful if you already have a little bit of part-time job experience besides your studies. That way, you’ll learn a little bit of multitasking and it will help you a lot” – Ananya, Technical University of Munich, Germany.

5. Know what you’re doing:

Seriously, if you’re planning to study abroad on a subject that you’re not good at, don’t go for it just because it gets you there. It will immensely affect your future. Sure, getting to experience a whole new place and cultures would be exciting but you’ve got a life to live after that. What happens next? Fine, we get that it will be a life-changing journey for you but you’ve still got to excel, you know? The degree will be useless otherwise.

“I was so good at Math back in school that my teachers recommended that I study economics and statistics in future, but I had my mind set on an independent life abroad. So, I wasted 4 years of my life on the wrong subject thinking it would eventually work out. Well, it didn’t”, said Fariha, a former Arts student at Monash University, Malaysia.

So, don’t just go for it because you want a new life-changing journey. Choose your program wisely.

Studying abroad can be a daunting and exciting experience altogether. It’s not impossible if you can push yourself in the right direction. As long as you’re choosing the right program for yourself and you believe it’s worth giving up a few things in life for it, you’re good to go.
Good luck!