[Reader-list] Bangladesh & "The Generation Thing"

Naeem Mohaiemen naeem.mohaiemen at gmail.com
Sat Jun 28 16:12:45 IST 2008

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The Generation Thing (Rumi Ahmed)

SSC results are out. For the first time in history of Bangladesh, students
could get their result via the cell phone interactive SMS. A whopping 70%
test takers passed the exam this year. This is significantly different from
when I took my public exams in the mid 80s. During those days, the only way
to get the results were either school notice board ( which will be torn and
taken out as souvenir within hours after posting) or the fine print result
sheets in the national newspapers. The pass rate is an improvement too. The
pass rate used to be a lowly 30 something percent those days. A better pass
rate is a remarkable and much needed leap forward. 'Nearly 2/3rd of the
students are flunking the first national public exams and majority of those
failing are from the rural downtrodden communities'– It was indeed a lousy
state of affairs.

There are other dramatic changes in associated social factors evolving on
the SSC/HSC results. In the past the nation used to celebrate a select
dozen, only those securing first place in different boards and different
concentrations. Invariably, on the morning after the results, there would
have been first page picture of the boy/girl who stood first flanked by the
parents. There would have been a first page report, " Shihab Boigganik Hoite
Chay." Or " Dhiman er kono private tutor chhilo na". This time more than 52
thousand students secured the highest score i.e. GPA 5. This is indeed a
more justified approach as I do not feel our public exams are designed to
identify one or twenty best students out of a pool of more than one million
pupils. And rightfully we are now celebrating for 52 thousand rather than a
select twenty. A better focus and some incentive for these 52 thousand
capable students can turn out to be much more beneficial for the nation than
idolizing 20 lucky nerds.

*And then those screaming dancing girls, the 'V' signs, the 'Girls Guide'
drum troops in full motion and the spontaneous expressions in front of TV
cameras ! News TV footage from Dhaka this morning was amazing. Its
definitely a changed Bangladesh and surely a change for good.*

In early-mid 80s, with the news of the result, most boys would go to the
school in the evening for the results and some urban cowboys will flock at
the board office at Bakhshi Bazaar through late at night. *And the girl? In
some cases, would walk to the school behind the dad and stay back while the
dad struggles with the young male students for a glimpse of the result sheet
posted in school notice board. And even at homes, when the morning newspaper
with the results would come, it will be the dad or the brother who will
start searching for the 'roll number'.* In today's TV news, looking at the
girls dancing singing with boys and teachers, I thought that time has indeed

And after many years boys overall did better than girl students in this
public exam. Its definitely another sign of the changes. Traditionally boy
students used to do better in public exam until the tide changed in the 80s.
This was a result of the changed attitude of our society towards the girl
child. In 60s and before boys used to get a preference in education i.e they
would get a tutor and a place to study. For the girl in average middle class
Bengali family, the full focus was on learning household things and then use
additional time to study. After a decade following a changing attitude
towards the girl child, the tide started to change. The result was clear
starting 80s. Girls started doing better in all faculty of education.
Science, arts, commerce, debate etc. Boys, more distracted by outside world,
game, adda, the cute girl at the corner home… , fell behind the girls. Girls
had more time to focus on homework and study at home.

Time and generation has definitely played a role in a futher change in the
trend too. *The cell phone revolution, the change of attitude of the society
to the girl child etc. has definitely helped the girls come finally out of
the indoor life. — the "onto:pur". Girls are now equally attracted and
distracted by the outside world. Hence their academic advantage is lost.*

Instead of 20, we now have 52 thousands fresh brain to work with. *Instead
of boy only urban cowboys, we now have equal number of damn-care girls and
boys joining hands together to make a tremendously fierce storm to rattle
the society.*

This is the best harvest of our nation, the best thing we got this year. We
must make ways for them to grow, we must reap the harvest. We must not let
them down.

Cross Posted at rumiahmed.wordpress.com

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