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Friday, October 24, 2008

Students Must Carry Books and Pen, NOT Stick or Gun?


CLASHING BETWEEN students in the college and university campus is not a new incident in Bangladesh. Historically since Bangladesh independence, student groups mostly have political party affiliation to maintain their power. During the last 36 years it is uncountable clashes occurred between students groups. Many of them political conflicts between students and some of them are non-political issues that later it turned into a political issue. Many of us are the eye witness of blood shading of student’s conflicts and damages of millions of dollars government and non-government property. In the past numerous of innocent citizens and students killed on the spot, and uncountable people injured for students clash. When clashes started, general public suffered lots for hours and hours due to traffic jams; college/university shut down and administrative work closed for limitless days. If the question asks to the genuine students and teachers who benefits from this clashes? Did the conflict bring a constructive solution? Or did any riot bring the life of the dead person when students and teachers protested violently for killing student by bus/truck accident? Never! It looks like “the eye for eye and the world makes blind” as MK Gandhi said. It means that whoever participates in this kind of inhuman violent activities they do not realize their status and they do not realize that they are the students in the higher educational level. As the college/university students their behaviour and attitudes must be more matured and self-controlled.

As we find that clash between students groups were very common fights when political party ruled the country. But, when clashes between students occurred during the emergency law or care taker government, then students do not know about nation’s law too. Do the students care anybody (law and authority) in the nation? It shocked me and felt very uncomfortable to see when students carry book and pen one hand, and the other hand they carry stick fighting against the other student groups (Ittefaq, Oct. 21, 2008). Recent clashes between the students of Dhaka College and Dhaka City College, campus violence at Jagannath University and Dhaka Polytechnic Institute over separate matters on Oct. 20, left at least 60 people injured and more then 20 cars and many other property damaged. From various news reports and eye witnesses said that the conflicts begun with very simple issue such as, girl students of the City College complained of eve teasing by some Dhaka College and Ideal College students while the girls were taking tea at a stall in front of their college, the other hand JU clashed with admission form distribution. Don’t we think that these kinds of conflicts can be solved without any violent activity? Of course, it is doable to resolve the problem without hurting or harming anyone and damage any property. In the both accidents students should complain the police/appropriate authority to solve the problems. If not, they must go to higher authority which could take long time to resolve the problem, but it is possible to solve the problems non-violently. It seems that respect, honesty, tolerance, love, and prudence, self-discipline, compassion, care, and courage such social values are disappearing from the schools and family teachings. Students are not getting authentic education in the early age (primary and high schools) what education means? What is most worth knowing? What knowledge, skills, and moral principles students ought to accomplish during their time at school? What knowledge and abilities do they need to lead good lives? Seeing student’s daily behaviour and activities in the various incidents, it seems that students are getting education only for academic learning, but holistic education is very insufficient on physical, spiritual, and mental development. Education must be emphasized and enhanced to make a whole person.

Without implementing character/moral education in the primary schools towards college/university levels there is no alternative way to teach our students to be responsible and good citizens. The school is the best social institution for children to teach character education. School is a learning lab where children reproduce activities in such way that the children will gradually learn the meaning of the subjects and be able to interact with others with their own ideas and thoughts. The school is a community life, not an individual life. It is not place to act violently and inappropriately. It is a place to correct of any inappropriate behaviours and attitudes by the discipline curricula. The school is the heart of social change and individual development. It is not too late but it is the right time to reframe our nation’s education curriculum that integrates character/moral education to produce responsible citizens. Character education involves moral knowing, moral feeling, and moral action. It means, good character consists of knowing the good, desiring the good, and doing the good—habits of the mind, heart, and action. Students must carry books and pen, not stick or gun. #

Washington DC, USA, October 21, 2008

Nirmal L. Gomes ( or is a freelance journalist, international scholar winner, & graduate student in education, specialty with Admin., Curri, Found, & Policy studies, CUA, Washington, DC

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