The country’s education system is on perils as repeated strikes called by the opposition parties pressing for their demands are eventually, in turn, hampering the daily routine of schools, colleges, universities and other institutions.
Students including their guardians and teachers have expressed frustration over the confrontational politics as they feel that the whole education system is on the verge of collapsing due to the series strikes. Academic activities in all educational institutions are disrupted as classes and examinations cannot be continued regularly.
The students and guardians said despite the urges made to the political parties to shun violence during protests and save the students’ academic lives, the situation however did not change but worsened in the last few months.
Nasreen Sultana, a mother of a child attending the Viqarunnisa Noon School, said: “My daughter will get poor grades if such situations continue to persist. The political parties should settle their differences and come to consensus to save the country and its education system.”
At the latest, the BNP-led 18-party alliance has called a nationwide dawn-to-dusk hartal for today demanding the unconditional release of its leaders and activists and protest the government’s decision of imposing a ban on meetings and rallies for a month.
The main opposition and its key ally Jamaat-e-Islami have already observed four nationwide strikes this month alone and a total of almost 30days have already been lost this year due the frequent strikes.
The Higher Secondary Examinations which was scheduled for today have been rescheduled for Thursday. However, this scenario is not new in the context of the recent violent political activities.
This year, the SSC, HSC, O-level and A-level examinations had to deal with several postpones and reschedules as several strikes were observed during the examination period. There were even incidents where a rescheduled exam had to be postponed again by the authorities due to the strike. The strikes also required the examinees of the ongoing O and A level exams to seat for their tests at midnight.
Dhaka Education Board Chairman Prof Taslima Begum said they have to face major problems while rescheduling examinations. “Today’s exam has been shifted to Thursday but we cannot be certain about any rescheduled date which creates a challenge to map the completion of the examinations, more of all some available dates contradicts with other exams.”
Some teachers of the schools said the students might have to take the upcoming half yearly examinations scheduled for June 9 without completing the full syllabus as classes were not held regularly. The teachers fear that, in such a case, problems would emerge during the annual exams.
Principal Manju Ara Begum of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College said they have been taking classes on weekends to make up for the losses which, however, is not sufficient to cover the academic damage done.
Farhad Hossain, principal of Monipur High School and College said: “We had to cut the duration of our summer vacation to make up for the losses but still we cannot fully complete the syllabus.” He said the total academic calendar of the school have been jeopardised due to the strikes in such an important time of the year.
Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique said: “Though examinations are held on hartal days, classes are not. We are trying to make up by taking classes on the weekends but the academic loss cannot be covered.”
Arefin urged the political parties to spare the education system as he fears that if such a situation continue there would be long session jams in the universities.