Kazi Sadman, a materials science and engineering sophomore, lived most of his life in Bangladesh, until moving here to the United States in high school.
Sadman attended a private school in Dhaka from playgroup through ninth grade. He spent his younger education years in what is known as playgroup, nursery, Kindergarten 1, then Kindergarten 2. The rest of his schooling was labeled by grade up to 12, much like U.S. schools.
There are two kinds of schools where he is from, English medium schools and Bengali medium schools. The English medium schools are private, whereas the Bengali medium schools are public.
Sadman attended an English medium school, which meant having seven or eight periods a day, only one taught in Bengali. School days ran from Sunday to Thursday. There were two five-month semesters in a year, with a one-month summer break and one-month winter break.
Sadman’s school was very academically challenging. There were letter grades assigned, report cards sent out twice a semester, and parent-teacher conferences twice a semester. There were finals every year that were worth 75 percent of their grade.
“There were no curves, never!” Sadman said.
If students passed their A level tests in the 12th grade, they could go on to apply for a university.
The heavy-weight finals and A level tests added a lot of pressure to students academically, Sadman said, something he was spared of in his final years of high school when he moved to the United States.
Students at Sadman’s school were not only held to a high standard of academics. There were many rules put in place to keep students’ behavior in line. Boys were to wear a uniform of brown pants paired with a white shirt. The teachers and administrators of the school were very respected, and they were given the ultimate authority. It was not uncommon for a student to get slapped or spanked by an administrator as a punishment for behavior.
But they also had fun with school too, Sadman said. A close-knit community, students grow up knowing basically everyone in their grade level, as they progress from playgroup through grade twelve at the same school. Sadman said when he left there were about 90 students in his grade, students whom he had grown up going to school with.
Sadman remembers some extracurricular programs his school offered. The debate club was big. Table tennis and basketball were popular as well. The school put on several functions, one called “race day” which is similar to an American field day. Other functions celebrating holidays like the Bengali New Year (Pohela Boishakh) gave students an excuse to dress up and enjoy food and music together.
I want to thank Kazi Sadman for sharing his school experiences with me!
To know more about the education system in Bangladesh, visit their ministry of education website. It is packed with statistics and official-looking documents, although the documents themselves are written in Bengali.