Bangladesh has moved fast on the roads of development during the last decade. To sustain this development, the youth or as we call it, the next generation has to play a vital role. It is very important that, the next generation is nurtured properly for this huge responsibility. Currently, the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam is going on throughout the country and the participants of this exam are among those who will lead our country in the future. Hence, the policymakers and think-tanks of the country must put some focus on the welfare of this important group though we see a very little concern about them.
The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent exams for the academic session 2021-2022 started across Bangladesh on Nov 6. A total of 1,203,407 candidates enrolled to participate in this exam, and among them, there 622,796 were male students and 580,611 were female students. The eligible candidates are from 9,181 educational institutions across Bangladesh. This year, some 2,649 examination centers were prepared for this test.In September, the Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board announced the schedule as well as a set of rules the candidates must follow during the exams.
The HSC examinees are under several distresses as they are participating in this exam. They suffered gridlock on first day of their exam in Dhaka. It is a rule that a participant must reach their exam center 30 minutes prior. But considering the traffic of cities like Dhaka, it is often impossible to reach on time. Though our students and parents are very careful about this rule and often start for the center before 2-3 hours from their homes, yet few students remain unable to reach the centers on time.
The traffic management authority should take special steps during the examination considering the comfort of the participants. It is only 2,649 examination centers all over the country. It is not very tough for the traffic authority to keep the center areas under control. But, the reality is mostly we find no traffic police in the exam center areas. If our authority could have realized the importance of ensuring a comfortable environment for these students, they might have acted differently.
Moreover, combined actions are required to make the traffic situation tolerable during such public examination time. As the HSC examinees are participating in the exams, other schools and colleges, where exam centers are not located, are operating simultaneously. During the exam days, those schools in metropolitans like Dhaka should remain closed. On days when there is no exam, those schools and colleges can operate. A traffic schedule and if required, traffic diversion can be used surrounding the exam centers. Moreover, rather than moving the huge number of students from their educational institution area to a different exam center area, the few number of teachers for one institute can move to another institute as invigilators.
A total of 20,354 examinees remained absent and became dropout on the first day of the HSC exam this year. The highest number of 3,509 absentees was reported in Dhaka board. Moreover, a total of 20,47,779 examinees registered to participate in the SSC examination of 2020. These students were supposedly participating in the HSC examination of this year. But, approximately, 8,44,372 students got dropped in from their journey from SSC to HSC.
A large number of students get dropped out every year from primary to secondary, secondary to higher secondary, higher secondary to under graduation level. Most of these youths becomes burden for the society and do not complement the growth of the country. We are accountable for every person of this country but we ignore the fact that, due to socioeconomic factors, many students do not complete their education in our country.
Due to economic and social constraints, most of the dropouts in education happen in Bangladesh. Many families could not afford education due to poverty. Children and teenagers of these families are often made engaged in economic activities. Moreover, child marriage is a curse for Bangladeshi female children and teenagers. Other than that, due to unequal education facility, lower access to technology, lack of support from the government and school, many students are dropped out.
The usual dropout is a crisis but dropping out after enrollment for the exam is a graver threat. But we do not pay due focus on this problem as we are just reluctant to know why even after enrolling, a student is not appearing in the exam though with just a little good intent, we can identify the reasons and can prepare ourselves to avoid such cases in the next years.
The government has huge local government representatives who can work to identify the reason of exam dropouts in their constituencies. There are units of the ruling party Awami League and country’s largest opposition BNP and few other parties in every thana and union of Bangladesh. They can also work for this agenda. These parties even have different wings like; student wing, youth wing, volunteer wing etc. in every thana and union. They can also commit to find the reasons behind the exam dropouts in their area. Only trying to enlist the students in their own organization is not at all helping the country. These wings should really work for the welfare of the youth. Moreover, if instructed, the schools will also cooperate in this cause.
The political parties are organizing serious programs in the month of November and December. This is the toughest time for the students of Bangladesh because they are participating in different exams. The programs of the political parties are creating pressure, mostly mental, on the students as they along with their family members are feeling distressed due to political vulnerabilities. While the political parties are fighting in the name of sustainable development and democracy, their practices are hurting the students. Hence, they should be more careful about the programs.
It is unfortunate that, the children of most of the top politicians, businessmen and intellectuals do not pursue their education in Bangladesh. Due to this reason, our heads of the country or society do not consider the struggles of the students in Bangladesh. They could have realized the trauma of the students here if their children had to endure the same fate of the general citizens of the country.
For the sustainability of Bangladesh’s growth, it is important to ensure education for every member of the country’s next generation. These dropped out students will not only become burden for the country but also can turn into threats as they can easily get tangled with antisocial or terrorist activities. If we can learn the cause behind the dropouts, we will be able to address the issue. But political commitment is required here. It is unfortunate that, our political parties even do not show the courtesy to wish the public examinees. The opposition is currently making many promises to the fellow countrymen with the intent to topple the government but even they do not express any constructive plan for the students and the youths.
Along with all these issues, the comprehensive questions are raising fierce questions as these questions are often hurting religious sentiments and insulting eminent personalities, which is very unfortunate. If we cannot provide good education to the next generation, we will have a crippled future of the country. The associated authority must be very careful about preparing curriculum and questions so that, we can have not only passed students but also real resource for the country among the next generation.
Today’s youth will lead the country tomorrow. Hence, the government, the administration, the political parties and the society must focus on their welfare for the sake of the country. Hence, we hope, everyone will commit to the welfare of our youth.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Chief Patron, BangabandhuShishu Kishore Mela