Hello everyone, I am here to present a paper on the educational distinction between the USA and Bangladesh. Education is one of the most important tools today, and it is education that would change the future of the country and of the world. Let me read you an interesting poem on education by Randy Johnson first, a poem that states clearly what exactly an educational system must achieve in an individual’s life: “If you want to succeed, go to college and get a degree. Study hard and make good grades, that is the key.
Nothing spells success like a good education. You can be a doctor or President of a corporation. If you want to be a success, an education is what you’ll need. A person who is educated will be far more likely to succeed. ” As we all know, the American education system offers its students one of the most varied set of options available anywhere in the world; one would be able to choose to study anything at all that interests him or her, right from art and music to rocket science and nuclear physics.
At an average, an American child is required to start school at the age of five, which is when he joins kindergarten, after which he progresses through consecutive grades and reaches secondary school level. After the student attains his High School Diploma, he can enter the College or University of his choice, where he would be awarded either an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. He can progress towards a Master’s degree, and thereafter towards a PhD. (American Education System 2007)
Secondly, I would like to say that it would help to remember that America is considered a free society, with equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their gender, cultural and religious or even sexual orientation, and their ethnicity. I will now compare this state of affairs with those in Bangladesh. According to the past United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, “Bangladesh is the basket case of the world. ” He meant that Bangladesh was one of the poorest countries in the world at the time, 1972, where more people than not live below the poverty line, even today.
This crowded city is constantly battered by natural disasters such as floods, famine and drought, and experts state that education in the country would automatically help to improve productivity and to further the economic growth of the country. Education is therefore the key to development and to change in the dismal conditions in the country. The World Bank has loaned significant amounts of money to the government of Bangladesh so that conditions may be improved and the country’s people may broaden their horizons through education, that most essential tool to growth and development.
In Bangladesh most private schools offer English as the medium of instruction. However, private schools are often unaffordable for the poorer classes, and therefore, the masses learn in Bengali, the state language. Private school students are expected to complete their A-levels to enter a College or University of their choice, while others must write their Matriculation to complete school. The homeless hundreds in Bangladesh are offered educational instruction by Madrassas, where priests teach them the ways of Islam.
At the end, the students are expected to become either priests or other Islamic religious figures. (Education in Bangladesh n. d) Third, let us examine the state of education in America. However, Robert Reich, a Professor of socio and economic policy at Brandeis University has stated that America is fast on its way to ‘marketing’ its higher education, a dangerous trend, in which education is starting to resemble any other professional service industry, in which an ‘investment’ is made, and returns expected from that investment.
To compound the problem, certain expensive ‘brands’ of education are becoming available only to those elite who can actually afford them, thereby denying the same to those who lack the funds to pay for the education. Shouldn’t education be freely available to all those who need it? (Reich, Robert 2004) In Bangladesh, the problem is that education in the English language is not available to everyone who may want it and this at a time when English is being recognized worldwide as one of the most important skills that an individual may need in the workplace.
The BBC World Service Trust has launched an initiative in the country, wherein the language becomes accessible to hundreds and thousands of Bangladeshis, so that these people may be able to play a more important role in the social and economic development of their country. (Howie, Caroline n. d) As Choudhury puts it, Bangladesh seems to be slowly but inexorably moving towards a military rule, what with plenty of anti-American and anti-West sentiments being aroused by the nation’s leaders.
Moriarty, a US diplomat working in Bangladesh, says that if one were to hope to improve the ties between Bangladesh and America, then one must make concerted efforts to accelerate the development of the ‘three Ds’, that is, democracy, development and denying space to terrorism. If the issue of education were to take precedence over these problems, then there is no reason why the country cannot progress in leaps and bounds, to stay at par with the developments in the rest of the world. (Salah Uddin Sohaib Choudhury 2008) Finally, let me compare America and Bangladesh in terms of education, and see where both stand.
As one educationist put it, investing money and resources in children’s future is neither a luxury, nor can it be considered a choice, be it in the United States of America, or in Bangladesh, or anywhere else in the world. Take the example set by America: a hundred years ago, it was decided that every child born on American soil must complete his or her high school education, and about forty years ago, an order was passed to make sure that every American child would enjoy the chance to enter the College or University of his choice.
The ‘No Child left Behind Act’ passed by President Bush has been one of the groundbreaking policies ever passed, and quite a lot of hard work has gone in to make sure that no child is indeed left behind, or deprived of the education that is his birthright. In Bangladesh, although it is true that students have the choice of attending world class schools, it is almost certain that only the elite and the wealthy would have a chance to enroll in these schools, leaving the rest far behind to attend either Bengali schools or schools run by Madrassas that teach in Arabic.
Out of these, about 15% Bangladeshi children do not even get a chance to enter primary school, while even less are able to complete their higher education. As a matter of fact, even the teachers in schools seem ill equipped or even trained to teach, no matter what the medium of instruction may be. It is the widely held belief that collaborative efforts must be initiated if changes are to brought in, and this is the reason why agencies like USAID have stepped in with new teaching methods and materials designed to make learning fun and interesting for Bangladeshi children.
We can hope that things will improve in Bangladesh, and that Bangladeshi children, and also American children, will be better equipped to face the challenges of today with greater strength and courage than before. (Hafez, Khoda 2004) As Bill Beattie put it, “The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men. ” I would like to conclude with this small quote on education that clearly explains what education must and should be all about. Thank you!
Courtney from Study Moose
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