From very early childhood of mine I have known that knowledge is power. I have read about many scholars’ life where their knowledge acquiring process was quite different, in fact knowledge was the priority and nothing else. Today there is a trend of gaining knowledge by not attending school physically. In simple thinking this is good when attending school is difficult due to some reason. But the situation we face in countries like Bangladesh indicates the opposite. The following story will clarify all, I believe, –
It is a story of a boy living in Bangladesh. He was a good student from a middle class family. He studied till the completion of his graduate degree with the support from his family. In Bangladesh there is not much scope to work parallel to the studies. Still he worked hard to earn some money for his family during his education. In fact he was very caring for his family, especially the parents. He sacrificed many of the opportunities for education and earning because they would compel him to go away from home that would leave his parents alone and helpless.
He had a very keen interest for earning good quality knowledge through education. But in Bangladesh education is rather certificate oriented. Plus if one wants to study in some professional trend after the graduate level, he must engage himself fully with education leaving any earning scope behind. Though there are some students here who work parallel to postgraduate education, they leave their family behind and still do not earn knowledge adequately; even the examinations for certificate gaining, the main motto for many here, are also postponed day after day.
So my hero (?!) could not proceed for post graduate education in his country. He did not even have the money to travel up to the university, let alone paying the admission fees and expenses for standard books. Instead he searched for a job for the maintenance of his family and also important treatments of his parents like eye surgery. But he never quit his struggle for knowledge. As Bangladeshi institution had very little scope for scholarship, he started to search for scholarship, that is, full free studentship. He did not want to leave his country because that would cost him the amount of money that is too much beyond his capacity and also he would have to leave his helpless parents alone. With his strong desire he managed so many distance education opportunity fully free of cost that he reached the highest level of education. Parallel to this he could earn and maintain his family, though that was very tough for him to maintain the standard of knowledge.
But when he began to study by distance learning mode, his friends, and related people disbelieved him. They took him as a very immature person and advised him not to waste time after worthless things. As he did not leave the education, they started making fun of him, and finally they took him as a cheater who is lying in the name of new things. He got severe disappointment from them for his success in acquiring knowledge in place of any congratulation or applauds. But he never stopped. He knew that he must be a wise man and also maintain his family properly.
But the biggest blow came from his professional brethren. The institute, where he did his job, had some employee with higher education by on-campus education. First they were expressionless about him, but when they saw his name and photo on the national news papers for his successes and contribution, they became very annoyed, and they warned him against cheating and reminded him of the consequences of cheating, though my hero was never lying or cheating. Finally when he started to avoid any publicity and concentrated in personal education and development, willingly many of his co-workers insulted him mentioning that he has no qualification to maintain such activity for himself. They advised him how to learn and who can learn.
Parallel to all these, his country’s authorities never recognized his degrees and education and he stopped letting others know about what he did by distance education. He erased his distance education degrees from his visiting card and when someone asks about his educational qualification he only mentions up to his bachelor degree education. But he never stopped his work for education and learning. May be .01% of his surrounding people encouraged him for his effort, but that was invisible in the crowd to insults, though he always remembers and admits the benefits of those scanty supports.
That was the entire example. The person I talked about needed to conceal his name and introduction to avoid further harassment, though he may be facing the same for infinite period of time. But what is your opinion? Is distance education a sin? I believe it is at least a sin, practically, in Bangladesh.
A joke: Did you know Bangladeshi’s are very much fond of British ordinary and advanced level certification? Also did you know that Bangladesh has an Open University? How funny, isn’t it!
The author is a conscious person about his society and surroundings. He is not interested to introduce himself, cause he thinks that it might hamper his scope in writing.