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Strike Disrupted 4 Crore Students Academic Calendar

Online Desk | May 13, 2013
Strike Disrupts Academic Calendar

Strike Disrupts Academic Calendar

The sufferings of examinees are unbearable who are undergoing tremendous stress and inconvenience as their exam dates are being pushed into the month of May due to the nationwide strikes almost every week around mid-day. Already academic calendar of the whole year of all level students came under a huge change following impact of 5 months strike. Moreover, O-level & A-level exams which have to begin from June 7 are under threat of political strike. Following this, 4 crore students academic calendar defaced by political parties.

On February 4, Md. Tanvir Hasan, a SSC examinee from Comilla Cadet College, was taking final preparation for Bengali second paper examination. Just the day before, he had the first experience of sitting a public examination. He was all set for the next exam, when Jamaat-e-Islami called a countrywide hartal on February 5 protesting the ICT trial against Quader Molla.

The exam was immediately postponed to February 8 (Friday), which was just 20 hours after attending his religious study exam. 'It is so irritating as one has all preparation but cannot sit for the exam. Besides, a rearranged date is fixed without giving any gap between exams thus leading to tremendous mental pressure,' Hasan expresses his anguish over frequent postponement of public exams due to nationwide strikes. Political parties enforce hartal saying it is their political right.

Government and businessmen oppose it reasoning that hartal hampers national growth and brings stagnation in economy. Obviously that is true; but one of the worst impacts, probably, which no one considers is the adverse impact on the total education scenario, according to most students and parents of examinees.

Usually, the time period from February to May are scheduled for some public examinations like Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher School Certificate (HSC).

This year, as the public examinations kicked off, simultaneously opposition political parties also enforced political programmes like countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartals, some even 48 and 72-hours at a stretch. Due to consistent hartal by some opposition political parties, the SSC exams for 37 subjects of five days were rescheduled. Around 13 lakh students faced uncertainty for more than one-and-a-half months. Starting from February 3, SSC exams were scheduled to be completed by March 5. But due to hartals, it was delayed till March 12. Amid such uncertainty, HSC examination started from April 1 and already, six subjects of two days of examinations have already been rescheduled. As the opposition called a 36-hour hartal on April 23 and 24, the examinations of these two days have been shifted to May 10 and 11.

Rescheduling puzzle the education ministry authority seems to be in dilemma of rescheduling the examination as there have been several incidents of frequent postponement. Examinations of economics first paper, physics first paper, business principle and implementation first paper under eight general education boards were scheduled on April 11. These were postponed to April 19 at the last minute as Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student organisation of Jamaat, called for the strike.

On April 17, just two days before the exam that was scheduled to be held, the ministry rescheduled it again to May 3. Earlier, the authorities also rescheduled HSC and equivalent examinations scheduled for April 9 and shifted them to April 13 due to hartal called by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led (BNP) 18-party alliance. However, examinees allege that the authority does not consider the viability of postponement and they have never cared about the issues and problems of examinees. 'We have scheduled examination of biology first paper, civic, and business initiatives and practical management on April 18. Physics first paper, which has a vast syllabus of 19 chapters, was rescheduled on April 19. How could one be able to finish such huge syllabus within 15 hours?' asks Towfik Ahmed, an HSC examinee, from BAF Shaheen College. Another student, Shakila B Lopa, from BAF Shaheen College Dhaka states, 'First of all, the public examination creates huge mental pressure; and now with the rescheduling it has become even worse. It seems no one in politics cares about what is happening to the students. The board should have scheduled the exams from the beginning on every Friday and Saturday instead of weekdays! But even if they would have, Fridays are not hartal-free either,' she expresses her anger. Kanak Jahan Nazia from BCIC College shares the same view and feels that they keep wondering when and what the next exam will be instead of preparing and thinking about the possible questions of the exam.

Anamika Haque, an HSC examinee from Holy Cross Girls' High School, says that repeated rescheduling of exam increases their plight and difficulty. 'Usually, exam routine is published a month beforehand and we tend to take preparation on the basis of gaps from one to another exam. But as the routine is changed due to hartal, the total study plan goes awry,' tells Anamika.

Furthermore, she fears about the security of her parents' and her life while reaching the exam hall. 'In some cases, political parties endorse that examinees will be out of hartals. But since there are not much security from law enforcers, who would really provide us the safety and courage for going to the exam hall?' she asks. Professor Dr SM Wahiduzzaman, controller of examinations at Dhaka Education Board, admits about the dilemma.

'Political parties enforce hartal in different districts at different times. Thus, it becomes a tough job to plan and rearrange the whole process,' he says. Examinees and guardians formed human chains in different districts of the country claiming that they are worried about candidates' safety and are anxious due to the torching of vehicles on the eve of any hartal and road blockage programmes and the cop-activists clashes during hartal. The speakers in the human chains requested the leaders of political parties, district administration and concerned Education Board officials to keep all national examinations including HSC examination out of purview of hartal considering national interests and plight of students.

The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 19 urged the opposition to spare HSC students during ongoing examinations. 'I urge the opposition leader not to enforce hartal during the 8th Bangladesh Games and the ongoing exams so that the preparations of the students are not hampered and their future does not face any uncertainty,' she said. Educational impact of exam postponement Educationists and teachers consider that frequent postponement and rescheduling of examination has an adverse effect on students. It impedes the total education structure of the country.

'Exam is not at all about memorising something and writing these down at the examination hall. It is rather mental preparation and test of temperament. It takes long time, especially, when it is about terminal or public exam, it takes years to be prepared for the final test. When all is set for exam, the postponement decision comes unexpectedly. This puts the examinees under unnecessary mental pressure, creates dilemma and they lose the interest about the examination,' explains Dr Md Siddiqur Rahman, professor and former chair of Institute of Education and Research (IER) at Dhaka University.

'Education is a stratified method. You cannot start new level without finishing the past one; therefore, as one is impeded and delayed, the next levels will be delayed and hampered for sure,' adds Professor Rahman. Fahima Khatun, director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, views that uncertainty at examinees' minds disrupt their overall preparations prior to an examination. 'We urge all concerned stakeholders to take necessary steps and refrain from anti-students programmes so that students do not suffer during the examinations and can take exams without any anxiety,' she adds.

Tofayel Sunny of Dhaka College considers that frequent postponement has a very harmful impact on total preparation. Postponement of single exam impedes the study of at least two or three subjects. 'We had biology first paper on April 18 and second paper on April 21. We were planning and taking preparation according to the previous routine. But sudden placement of physics first paper on April 19 has just ruined the total study plan.

However, the April 19 exam was rescheduled, but in the meantime, it was too late for taking a good preparation for both parts of biology,' states Sunny. Md Abdul Khaleque, vice-principal of Government Laboratory High School, observes that frequent rescheduling also decreases enthusiasm among examinees. 'I have observed them closely. As the exam is rescheduled, they seem quite hopeless and reluctant about studies overall.'

BNP Standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain believes that they do not have any alternatives than to enforce hartal. 'We were very much aware of SSC and HSC examination and we had planned our programme considering the exam routine. But, unfortunately, government repression has crossed all the limits and most of our senior leaders are either detained or attacked by government–back law enforcers and its' workers,' Hossain tells.

Hossain informs that they are now planning to enforce more widespread and strict procession and programmes so that the government can feel the music. 'The fact is that, we are not in a situation to consider such issues as it has become the question of our existence,' adds Hossain. However, examinees, guardians, and educationists - they all called upon all concerned for refraining from enforcing hartal during the HSC examinations. The education minister, Nurul Islam Nahid stresses that the future of around 10 lakh students depends on the public examinations. All the parties should act responsibly so that the future of the country does not face uncertainty, he says. The minister, however, expressed his firm determination to take steps to save the academic life of students and said that the government would make alternative arrangements. 'We will arrange, the way we did before, the examinations on weekends and public holidays, if the opposition parties impose shutdowns to hamper examinations,' he concludes.

Same thing happened to the students of both public and private colleges. The session jam increasing and the most sufferers are students of National University.

Now, it's time, political parties should think, they are defying public's right in the name of their political right. শিক্ষা সংক্রান্ত খবরাখবর নিয়মিত পেতে রেজিস্ট্রেশন করুন অথবা Log In করুন।

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