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Thursday, June 16, 2016, Ashar 2, 1423 BS, Ramadan 10, 1437 Hijri

Children's schoolbag: Too heavy to sustain of
Siddhartha Shankar Joarder
Published :Thursday, 16 June, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 130
Rabindranath Tagore said that no education can ultimately be successful if it lacks joy and amusement. Education, thus, is very importantly conceived as a tool to change the life and thoughts which must be acquired by the process of joyful pursuit. Most part of the educative system which gets finally stored as learning in human mind depends on some ways of sustainable expediency. As a result, the entire process of learning must exclude very clumsy and unpleasant burden especially for the children. However, in the present global phenomena education gradually loses its spirit because of tremendous competition around and the very shortcut way to succeed.
In Bangladesh, recently, education is completely routed by the so called market economy and the attitude of learners. All-out competitions and the cash-value mentality of society smash the whole atmosphere that finally threatens our future. With that, this unbearable reality, among all, affects our children very much. Truly, this picture is almost the same from elementary to the highest seat of learning, and no immediate change is expected to overturn this clumsy atmosphere. New education system, which is better than ever, can't, however, see any light to ease off the burden of children's schoolbag. In addition to that, the discriminatory education stratum within the same structure pulls the system down. The infants' fighting for school admission leaves a very negative impression on their innocent mind. The competition rises everywhere and the parents' insomnia increases proportionally.
Sougata, a little boy of eighteen kilogrammes, passed only eleventh birthday last week. His schoolbag is no less than that of his actual weight, which contains numbers of guides, textbooks, and class notes along with a tiffin box. His day starts with the call of his mother around seven o'clock; he needs to be ready within couple of minutes because of the huge traffic congestion on the way to his school. Private tutor waits at his home before his arrival from the school around twelve o'clock. Only five minutes are available for him only to put his schoolbag apart. Meanwhile, he takes some snacks and gobbles it up within moments to please his awaiting master. After nearly two hours of study with the tutor he becomes exhausted, and he is left with little energy to go to playground. Further, coaching classes start from 3pm. So, he needs to hurry to take lunch. After huge pressure in the coaching the shattered Sougata returns home before the twilight and waits for his mother's return at home. Mother, Arpa Ghosh, takes him every night to the reading room to prepare his son by herself. She continues the rollercoaster till the last word to be crammed up by his heart. Meanwhile, attempts are made to prevent him from falling to drowsiness during his long preparations. This tedious routine has become in indispensable part of his life without repose. Arpa Ghosh follows the same routine everyday for her son along with some other assignments like dance and art schooling. Of course, this life is not an exception for the case of most schoolchildren in Bangladesh excepting in rural areas.
In addition, the content of the curriculum is really flabbergasting. When the whole text of primary books is concerned, mathematics and English for example, it puzzles us with limitless dubiety. Nay, that should never be the way of learning for a kid. The book of mathematics for class five is a wonderful scripture of analytical reasoning that can only be compared to Principia Mathematica of Bertrand Russell and A N Whitehead. It is conceived that only twenty people around the world could understand the Mathematica. Here, these students in future will extend the number on the list for sure, who will understand and write more sophisticated books like that! The writers of those books go for experimentation and use all routes of their sagacity on the innocent minds. Multiplication, annexation, ratio etc follow the most difficult rule of critical reasoning and obviously it doesn't corroborate the traditional method. In the name of creativity, more burdens are constantly added to fore disregarding the ability and courage of the learners. For English, this case is more pragmatic, more fallacious and of course less intuitive. In university, I have noticed students that very few of them can write correct English. I don't hesitate to aver that knowledge in English language is surprisingly poor for the Bangladeshi students irrespective of their positions and institutions. At the elementary level the standard of English learning really makes us amused. But, those students during facing admission test at university level fall down in debacle. It is hard to make out the reason what actually happens to them. Indeed, our education system is defective and very erroneously conceived to be pro-learners. It is not seriously mooted according to the level of adaptability of learners. Moreover, Kindergarten education introduces a very inhuman burden on innocent kids.
Consequently, in the name of education, we are making some crammers whose only duty is to perform like a parrot. Children are forgetting to write on some unknown issue as a freehand skill since they are accustomed to make their choice and have a tick off among some answers. This is by no means can be called creativity. Educators say the 'quality' has increased in terms of grade point average (GPA) however the actual quality of the students is really frustrating. In a recent television interview, some students who passed SSC this year bewildered the nation by their level of cognition. It is reported that most of the students registered their highest performance in the public examination but lowest in their oral test in the television news. It is unfortunate that those bright students fail to achieve the minimum pass marks in their admission test at university.
Back to the outset, the aim of education is to enlighten the heart of learners and broaden the faculty of understanding. Education has the power itself to face the challenge of life. That is why, the learning process and its method should be spontaneous and pro-learners. Teachers can only instil the inspiration in the mind of students. Einstein says, "it is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." Education turns out to be a panic-stricken state for the children nowadays and psychologists apprehend serious mental havoc in a large scale for their upcoming days. I am sure decision should be made right now as to how we can bring back our good future for the innocent future leaders. Lest we forget that those burdens must be limited and it mustn't go for unfathomable.
Siddhartha Shankar Joarder is Chairperson at Philosophy department, Jagannath University, Dhaka

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