I used to go to a school in the Dhaka University area. Those who also went to Udayan, might remember the days in our early childhood days when we used to hear the sound of gun shots around the school. I still remember, parents who used to wait for their children will run to the main gate of the school screaming to get in. Sometimes, even the police would take shelter inside the school!! For a while those days were not as visible as in the past. But I guess, when there's cancer in your body, it'll come back soon or later.
The days are back. And this time they are coming with a BANG!! I don't know if the violence has escalated then before or it's because we get media coverage from Dhaka University to Dhonia College that looks as if conflicts have increased, but it seems the cancer has spread everywhere. One thing is for sure, we as a nation have lost our morality. Our violent, zero tolerant mob mentality has spread in all works of life.
Students from middle school to middle aged office goers, everyone is ready to rumble. Not everyone, I should rephrase, because most just keep a blind eye. Those who used to be 'active' on the street have become ruthless.
I started writing with student violence, today lets just stick to this. I am not ready to say it's student politics violence, it has nothing to do with politics. If it wasn't for Awami League or BNP, it would have been for Abahani and Mohamadan. The morality is lost. Pens are replaced by pipe guns and ideology is blown away like a puff of a cigarette. "Boro Bhai" culture is too deeply routed in our country. Everyone wants to become a "Boro Bhai" and is willing to do anything for it. Everyone has to be on the center stage and once the lime light is on you, that's it!! They'll do anything to keep it that way.
Those who say, these boys with guns are derailed by others for their interest, I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry because either they are an interest group, taking advantage of these kids or they are schizophrenic, living in a fantasy world. A guy in his 20s is not the same as my 6 year old nephew. Specially in this age, kids realize the concept of self interest before they learn the word. I also have seen a bit of student politics and none of them seemed to be blind by any misguided ideology. All of them were very much aware of how much their positions were worth and how much they can earn from it.
NONE of these students or these student political wings are fighting for any ideology. No one, none!! And the political parties are also exploiting them as mob bosses use street gangs as debt collectors.
The problem is not with our political parties though. It's us, the entire nation. We all are responsible for this. We systematically destroyed our education system. We have three parallel education system, creating a confused and divided generation. When they cross roads in a university, it's just obvious they are clueless what are they suppose to do there. A student from an urban upbringing and a student from a rural school, who fought every step of life, is not coming with same knowledge or motives.
Some go to the private university just to avoid campus violence and session jam! Some go overseas because that's the best way they can leave the country for good. Some go to a good public university and from day 1 start planning how to come abroad. Their education is paid by public and right after they graduated, WALLAAHH!! Flyin to FreeTown!! Aren't they criminals too?? If my education was paid by Bangladesh, at least before I leave I would have paid back the amount they had spent on me.
So who's left? It's the helpless ones, whose parents work 16 hours to keep them in school or who themselves work 16 hours to stay in school. They can't get out of the country or not able to pay in the private university system. What is there future? They are left in the wild wild west to fight for survival. What would they do?? The answer is in a rap song.."Join the hood, to kill the mood". Either you can be the menu or on the table eating. Most would prefer to be on the table, so we see the Robin Hoods with knives or swords.When teachers are also known by colors they support, there's nothing they can do.
What is the future of our public education system? Why don't we restructure the entire school system. Why don't universities specialize in subjects to concentrate the resources they have. Why do every university need a Science and Arts faculty that they can't support? Wouldn't it be better if we had put our resources for science and research in some schools and liberal arts in some. Students would follow where ever they have to go for education. Medical colleges are a big example. With more resource and limited number of seats, we would have had the best of the minds studying. By reducing number of faculties, you can monitor the quality, focus on things you need to provide. The private universities are often pointed out for not having enough departments, but at least a handful of them has found their niche market to focus and they are not doing bad. It's the share number of universities that are allowed to open left and right and east and south that worries me. Those who can't get into a good subject in a public school or in a private school are jumping on board to these below par universities. Why? What makes you think, having just a degree will get you a job. One thing we all forgot, UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IS NOT A RIGHT, IT'S A PRIVILEGE. We need to change our perspective towards higher education.
Divide the university system in 4 years Bachelors and 4 years technical studies. In 4 years technical studies students will study 2 years of basic subjects and 2 years specialized hands on vocational curriculum. We need skilled people who can work, we don't need a country full of philosophers. Just think, if we can use some of our universities for R&D for local businesses and some schools are also creating able, skilled people to work in production and manufacturing what can Bangladesh do. There are so many sectors in the world, were there is a serious shortage of skilled workers. We can easily penetrate these job markets. The revenue we can earn and the first hand know how we can transfer back to Bangladesh can benefit the whole country.
Unless we unify the school level education systems to one, restructure our university systems, we can't change the present status quo. A generation without any future will find alternatives. We didn't provide any in the constructive world, well the destructive world provided a pretty feasible solution. And so we see everyday the dark lord shout,
"Rise a knight, brother in arms, created by our failure".