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Mental agony of university admission seekers

Wednesday, 17 August 2022


Tahsin Tasnia Simi
University is a time for finding oneself, meeting like-minded people, and enriching one's skills and knowledge. As a matter of fact, it can be considered a crucial stepping stone for one's career. Hence, having a successful university admissions season and landing on a campus that fits is of utmost importance to the students of Bangladesh.
It is no secret that in most cases, the university admission system in Bangladesh is quite disarrayed. Moreover, the prehistoric examination systems that are employed are largely rooted to test a student's memory and barely hold any relevance in the modern world making this period a nightmarish hellscape for students.
Bangladesh, as a society, has a strange fondness for public universities, and students who get admitted to private ones are often looked down upon. Therefore, students face a tremendous amount of pressure to get into public universities, more so to get into the 'most prestigious' ones, such as Dhaka University, BUET, Dhaka Medical College, etc. However, there are nearly not enough seats in these universities to accommodate even a significant fraction of the candidates. As a consequence, to secure one seat a student has to compete against a large number of contenders making her or his chance of success statistically quite low.
For perspective, each year, the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka admits around 120 students out of the 7,500 that sit for the entrance exam. Unsurprisingly, examinees go through a period of great uncertainty, unimaginable stress, and uncertainty during their admission season. The education system of Bangladesh hardly has any provisions allocated to help students discover themselves, their passions, or their desired career choices.
Understandably, this hellscape is difficult enough for students to cross without any added disturbances but unfortunately, the majority of the students are not fortunate. Many have to face added duress courtesy of the unfair expectations placed upon them by their parents or their relatives adding more difficulties to an already gruelling period. Parents often see children as an extension of themselves without acknowledging them as their own independent persons. To be clear, it is perfectly alright for parents to want their children to achieve great things in life. It only becomes a problem when the child's own wishes and dreams are dismissed without being taken into consideration. This can potentially cause the students to experience anxiety, hamper their performance in admission tests, and fracture their confidence.
Having an unwanted burden upon someone can only cause them to chase that goal half-heartedly damaging their chance of success. Furthermore, this can also put a strain on the relationship between the parents and their children. Students that are unable to secure a seat in a public university also face struggles due to the disappointment and anger of their over-imposing parents.
"My parents were quite supportive at the beginning of the admission period, however, when I could not get chance into my targetted university, I could feel my mother getting angry," revealed one candidate who took part in this year's admission exams. Additionally, parents of other students can cause mental anguish.
"There were parents calling to boast about their children getting into prestigious public universities to my parents. This made things difficult for me," expressed another aspirant, wishing to be anonymous. In addition to inflicting pain on the students, these unnecessary intrusions can potentially cause them to start one of the most important phases of their lives, university life, on a defeated note. As controversial as it may sound, it is critical to remember children do not exist to fulfil their parents' incomplete dreams. Rather they should be allowed to have an input into making the major life decisions that will shape their lives.
Moreover, getting into a public university is not an efficient predictor of one's success or failure in life. Many students from private universities have gone on to achieve great things in life. On that account, we, as a nation, should re-evaluate this unwanted burden we thrust upon our children at one of the prime times of their lives. Instead of worrying about saving face in society, we should value our children's happiness. We should practice open discussions and support our children in figuring out what they want to do and who they want to be in life.

The writer is a fourth-year BBA student at IBA-DU, majoring in Marketing.
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