In the Media – SAU Student Md. Shariful Islam’s think-piece on The Financial Express, Dhaka

Creativity and critical thinking in our education
Published : Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Today’s young generation is the policy makers, leaders, and above all the future drivers of tomorrow. But if this generation of a country do not get proper education, then what is the future of that country? Unfortunately, this year, 55 percent GPA 5 holders could not secure even pass marks in the Dhaka University admission test, which merits to rethinking the education system in Bangladesh. It will not be wrong to say that, it is a wake-up call to the policymakers to look at the education system. It is time to emphasize on quality rather than quantity.

Let me explain the apathetic conditions of education system in our country. It is an undeniable fact that from nursery to post-graduation, education has become so much commercialized, competitive, and conventional, where creativity, critical reasoning/thinking is totally missing. Unfortunately, not only the students but also the teachers do not think outside of the box.

From my personal experience, I can refer that, at higher secondary level, I taught English almost 5 years and found that many students even can’t communicate in English properly. But they got golden A plus having studied in a renowned school. Who will think about this messy state of our education system?

From primary to higher secondary, learners rely on guide books, house tutors, and coaching. And at higher education level, it is sheet/photocopy based. Very few students use the core text books of their particular discipline during their gradation and post-graduation level.

Now, it is shocking for the nation today that after getting admitted in a public university, students start taking preparation for BCS examination bypassing the academic studies which needs to take into consideration. The loopholes also lie in our system. If any student just studies one week before exam, s/he will get good CGPA. In most of the cases, they collect some notes from their senior brothers, who had collected them from their senior brothers. And in many departments, students write their answer scripts in Bangla which also merits attention since in this age of globalization; it is totally insane to ignore the necessity of English. Where in maximum public universities, teaching method is Banglish, then what’s the fault of the students to write answer in Bangla?

It is also pertinent to note that, politicization works as a disease for the dying condition of our public universities. Unfortunately, many teachers are recruited on the basis of politics who do not have minimum quality to teach. If teachers are not qualified, what kind of products can we expect from them?

The story is not ended here. The politics among our teachers and students continue in our universities and students’ halls/ dormitories which undoubtedly, however, works as germs to the excellence in our education.

Another important point is that, unfortunately, getting good marks and finding a good job has become the motto of the students. It is not the fault of the students. Reality and system compel them to do this. Say for instance, in each and every year, thousands of graduates are entering into the job markets, but the question is, how many job opportunities are created?

At the same time, many non-governmental organisations now- a- days are hiring people asking CGPA 3.75 out of 4. In this case, what can students do? Now, the question is where is the problem? Problem is, in our system itself. But is it that good CGPA holder means perfect person for that concerned post?

Many students, after completing their Bachelors and Masters from one of the renowned public universities in Bangladesh, think that they are the brightest students in the country. But after coming abroad, they realise that, actually there is huge lack in their knowledge. Is it their fault? Or the fault lies in our education system? Any student will undoubtedly say that it is in our education system.

Against the above backdrop, first of all, we need to come out from the conventional education system to save the backbone of the country. So, from curricula to teaching method, there should be a radical change in our education system particularly higher education sector in Bangladesh. Politicization in education must be stopped.

The teacher should be paid enough salary to make a sound life, and doing research. Academic achievement doesn’t just happen. In this case, resource, however, definitely matters. And definitely, the mandatory teaching method should be English in higher education and obviously not Banglish.

A nation sustains and prospers based on its proper education and that is why it is said that it is the backbone of any nation. The bottom-line is that, for a prosperous, developed Bangladesh, the government should give special attention immediately on country’s future determinant.

The writer is pursuing M.A. in International Relations at South Asian University, (a university established by the SAARC Nations), New Delhi.