[New Age Photo]

SSC results are out. For the first time in history of Bangladesh, students could get their result via the cell phone interactive SMS. A whopping 70% test takers passed the exam this year.

This is significantly different from when I took my public exams in the mid 80s. During those days, the only way to get the results were either school notice board ( which will be torn and taken out as souvenir within hours after posting) or the fine print result sheets in the national newspapers. The pass rate is an improvement too. The pass rate used to be a lowly 30 something percent those days. A better pass rate is a remarkable and much needed leap forward. ‘Nearly 2/3rd of the students are flunking the first national public exams and majority of those failing are from the rural downtrodden communities’– It was indeed a lousy state of affairs.

There are other dramatic changes in associated social factors evolving on the SSC/HSC results. In the past the nation used to celebrate a select dozen, only those securing first place in different boards and different concentrations. Invariably, on the morning after the results, there would have been first page picture of the boy/girl who stood first flanked by the parents. There would have been a first page report, “ Shihab Boigganik Hoite Chay.” Or “ Dhiman er kono private tutor chhilo na”. This time more than 52 thousand students secured the highest score i.e. GPA 5. This is indeed a more justified approach as I do not feel our public exams are designed to identify one or twenty best students out of a pool of more than one million pupils. And rightfully we are now celebrating for 52 thousand rather than a select twenty. A better focus and some incentive for these 52 thousand capable students can turn out to be much more beneficial for the nation than idolizing 20 lucky nerds.

And then those screaming dancing girls, the ‘V’ signs, the ‘Girls Guide’ drum troops in full motion and the spontaneous expressions in front of TV cameras ! News TV footage from Dhaka this morning was amazing. Its definitely a changed Bangladesh and surely a change for good.

In early-mid 80s, with the news of the result, most boys would go to the school in the evening for the results and some urban cowboys will flock at the board office at Bakhshi Bazaar through late at night. And the girl? In some cases, would walk to the school behind the dad and stay back while the dad struggles with the young male students for a glimpse of the result sheet posted in school notice board. And even at homes, when the morning newspaper with the results would come, it will be the dad or the brother who will start searching for the ‘roll number’. In today’s TV news, looking at the girls dancing singing with boys and teachers, I thought that time has indeed changed.

And after many years boys overall did better than girl students in this public exam. Its definitely another sign of the changes. Traditionally boy students used to do better in public exam until the tide changed in the 80s. This was a result of the changed attitude of our society towards the girl child. In 60s and before boys used to get a preference in education i.e they would get a tutor and a place to study. For the girl in average middle class Bengali family, the full focus was on learning household things and then use additional time to study. After a decade following a changing attitude towards the girl child, the tide started to change. The result was clear starting 80s. Girls started doing better in all faculty of education. Science, arts, commerce, debate etc. Boys, more distracted by outside world, game, adda, the cute girl at the corner.. fell behind the girls. Girls had more time to focus on homework and study at home.

Time and generation has definitely played a role in further changes in the trend too. The cell phone revolution, the change of attitude of the society to the girl child etc. has definitely helped the girls come finally out of the indoor life. — the “onto:pur”. Girls are now equally attracted and distracted by the outside world. Hence their academic advantage is lost.

Instead of 20, we now have 52 thousands fresh brain to work with. Instead of boy only urban cowboys, we now have equal number of damn-care girls and boys joining hands together to make tremendously fierce storm to rattle the society.
This is the best harvest of our nation, the best thing we got this year. We must make ways for them to grow. We must not let them down.