Everything about the world is changing in a rapid way. The education system has also experienced revolutionary changes. Not all the changes render the world embettered but some surely do. The general process of education in Bangladesh is a lengthy one: at least ten years in school, two years in college, then four years in graduation (honours) and one year in post-graduation (masters). To be eligible for a job, one has to go through these seventeen long years' rough way. If there is session jam (surely it happens in Bangladesh universities), two more years may be lost. These days many are choosing GED (General Educational Development) to save two valuable years.
Starting in 1942 in the USA, now from North America to Australia, Europe to Asia, most countries all over the world recognise and accept GED as American High School Diploma. Most of the private universities in Bangladesh accept GED graduates. Mentors, a leading GED education centre in Bangladesh, claims: GED can be a smart way to open up your doors for international higher education.
GED saves the two years one spends for HSC. The course duration is only 4 months. For whom is this GED course? GED is for anyone who has passed SSC, 'O' level or even HSC with 'not-so-good' result or has a study break willing to obtain an English medium American high school diploma. In Bangladesh, GED has been popular to them who, with such a background, want to have access to universities.
Students have to pass the five-test battery to earn a GED Diploma:
1. Language, Arts and Writing
2. Language, Arts and Reading
3. Social Studies (including History, Geography, Economics, Civics etc.)
4. Science (including concepts of life, earth and space science, physics and chemistry)
5 Mathematics (including algebra, geometry, statistics etc.)
Mentors, one of the best institutions which offer quality education, claims: our comprehensive preparation course is planned for the best GED result. Our experienced teachers, many of them with American educational background, will get the best out of you.
Zahid, a student of GED college under Mentor's Banani branch, says: "My study break frustrated me and I thought to give up study, but GED has aroused in me a new interest in study."
Lulu, a very bright student, remarks: "I have done very well in SSC but don't want to spend two long years for HSC, so GED is my saviour." Babu, who wants to study abroad says: GED is the best friend for those who aim at higher study in abroad.
Shahidul Islam, a representative of Mentors said: At first people did not realise its worth but now there is a great response from both partners and students. Tamim, an English teacher says: "We do our best to make the best as what is best in students. Everything is ok. Surely but GED is only for the privileged ones. It is not affordable for lower-middle class, let alone the lower class, even for a middle class family the expenditure may be high. For the four-month preparation programme, about 22,000 taka is charged and after the course, to sit for the final test you must register your name which costs about 31,000 taka. It's a matter of about 50,000 taka. Seems expensive! But this is not expensive if we think about students of HSC in private colleges spending no less for their college fees, private tuition fees and what not! GED is affordable in that sense.
But one thing is clear: it robs a student of his/her sense of being-in-college. When in school, students dream of a college where he/she will be more free, will meet more liberal atmosphere and will learn to be more sophisticated. College/HSC is meant to be transient point where students come off their school day infancy and get prepared for the higher studies coming ahead. In a period of four months, no college under the sun can give those gifts which a student get in his/her 2-year college life, be it the best college on earth.
Yet, those with study break or 'not-so-good-result' will be benefited by GED colleges. Besides, students with bright result like Lulu and ambition for higher study in abroad like Babu will also find GED college a boon. For students with humanity/arts background, the programme may appear hard since it demands basic knowledge of mathematics and science subjects. For students with commerce background, it's even harder since they have least knowledge of either social studies or science. It is best for students of science background. Anyway, good command in English is the key to success in GED program as it is quiet essential for all walks of life! To many, GED is the shortcut to perfection though we hear from my elders, there's no shortcut to perfection. However, things are changing rapidly, isn't it?
Nahid Kaiser Toma studies English literature in Dhaka University