The killers are not solely to blame
Almost every student, along with his or her parents, dreams of getting admitted to Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), the most prestigious educational institution in the country. Only the students with the best results get the opportunity to study here.
This very Buet, on Thursday, expelled 26 of its students for life on charge of brutally murdering one of their fellow students, Abrar Fahad, on October 7.
All but one of them were charge-sheeted on November 13 in the case filed in connection with the murder, a second-year student of electrical and electronic engineering. Almost all of the accused belong to Bangladesh Chhara League, the student wing of the ruling Awami League.
The brutalities committed by the accused that resulted in the murder of one of their class mates are beyond description. Any sane person cannot imagine, in his or her wildest imagination, that somebody can be murdered in such a heinous way for an apparent difference of opinion or speaking his mind. Since the matter is now under the jurisdiction of court, it would be wise for everyone to wait for the verdict, hoping that it will deliver nothing but justice.
As far as the accused and expelled students are concerned, the old age proverb “As you sow, so you reap” applies.
Having said that, conscious citizens of the resource-constrained country cannot help but be sad and reflective. What a waste. These were presumably meritorious students who should have been of use to the country, and not turned into killers.
Are these students alone responsible for their downfall as well as the damage to the country? Not at all. The education system of the country that involves politics, policy-makers, and parents is squarely to blame.
Education is supposed to make students able to establish themselves in terms of career and also to serve the country by being good human beings. But tragically, education is nowadays only about an unhealthy competition to get top grades and admission into premium institutions like Buet and Dhaka Medical College.
Sadly, most of the parents are also not bothered about nurturing humane qualities in their children; rather, they also go to war for their kids to earn the top grades to have places in premium institutions.
In the age of coaching and private tuition, the education system of the world's eighth largest country does not seem to care about the necessity of teaching students ethics and morality. The example of the 26 Buet students reaffirms the fact that earning top grades and places in top institutions does not serve the very purpose of education.
It would not be wise at all to speculate about the verdict of the case.
But one thing can be stated unequivocally. And that is that hanging these 26 young men will not solve the larger problem we have with education in the country.
If any improvement is expected, it is imperative to bring qualitative change to the existing education system so that the country develops students who will sustain the true spirit of education. And, needless to say, the students must be kept outside party politics.