Students of Dhaka Mohanagar Mohila College in Old Dhaka have taken to the streets on Tuesday to protest the college authorities' alleged demand for a "model test fee" ahead of this year's Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations, scheduled to begin on April 2.
The protesters, all of whom are HSC candidates, also complained that the college authorities were threatening to withhold their admit cards for the examinations unless they paid the fee.
"They [the college authorities] are demanding that we pay Tk5,000-6,000 for the model tests that they forced us to take," said Monica, one of the protesting students.
"Model tests are given after the Test examinations as a part of the HSC preparations; it is not mandatory. But the college forced us into taking the test. Now they are saying we have to pay the fee, or they will not give us our board-issued admit cards. We have been asking the admit cards for three days, but they are turning us away without the payment of the fee," she added.
With the exams less than a week away, the examinees gathered outside the college gate Tuesday morning to stage their protest.
"We came out on the street around 11am to press home our demand. There is nothing else we can do," said one of the protesters. "They have to give us our admit cards without further ado."
On condition of anonymity, another HSC candidate said: “There are a number of students in our class who could not take the model tests due to illness. The college is forcing them to pay the fee as well.
"The teachers are verbally abusing us, threatening us to block us from taking the HSC exams next week if we don't pay up. We have no other option than to take to the streets; they are illegally demanding money from us," the student added.
The protesters further alleged that the teachers of Dhaka Mohanagar Mohila College called local Chhatra League leaders to help disperse their students from outside the college gate.
When contacted on phone, the college principal, Afsana Mimi, said she was in a meeting before disconnecting the call.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com