The Transition from Public to Private University

Today, I will answer the question that I have to answer during every single interview I sit for. People look at my CV with curiosity. Some find my CV interesting, others find it amusing (in a negative way, of course). Why would a boy with a decent public university degree ruin his life with an MA at a private university? The transition from public to private university is not a natural thing in Bangladesh. People, specially the recruitment staffs of different sectors, are not accustomed to the concept of learning under different conditions. They prefer the normal guys with excellent academic records. The job seekers must know how to follow rules set by the traditions of our system.

Transition from Public to Private University
Transition from Public to Private University

When I was only a graduate without a postgraduate degree, I was so passionate about language teaching that I would have left everything behind if I was given a little chance.

Later, I realized that I was better off with my own ways  of thinking compared to a set of pathetic rules. An MA degree is a social criteria for an Arts graduate in Bangladesh, not a serious research opportunity.

To pursue my dreams of becoming a full-fledged teacher, I enrolled for the course subconsciously.

To start from the beginning, I am a graduate of English Language and Literature from the department of English, University of Chittagong (CU). With an average result compared to others of the department, I was supposed to try for prestigious public services or lucrative banking sector. Unfortunately though, my core skills were computing skills in desktop publishing and moderate web-based programming supported by decent language command over English and French.

I was passionate about technology-based language teaching and I conducted sessions using projectors for about 2 years before my completion of undergraduate studies. I did what appeared natural to me. I wanted a career in teaching which would allow some sort of fusion with technology.

Nobody realized what my CV was pointing at. Even IELTS or NTRCA certifications did not help much. I had to go for my post-graduation although I was not prepared to go back to my life in Chittagong. The job interviews during my MA studies proved painful because everyone wanted an MA in English, no matter how trivial a position they had to offer.

When I started working for my MA degree, I was fascinated by the system. From my childhood, I studied at private schools and colleges. I was comfortable with the procedure in which the system automatically pushes you.

The 6 long years I passed at CU helped me to recognize my position as a moderate student with no superficial abilities. I worked hard at the beginning but failed to keep up because of some personal shortcomings i.e. slow handwriting and slower approach.

At a public university in Bangladesh, you need to go on at your own pace without much support from the system. On the other hand, a private university drew some lines for me and kept me on my toes with deadlines and exams.

I found it easier to adjust and my results were satisfying as I gave my heart to my subjects. My assignments, presentations and other resources that I worked on during my post-graduation were available in ACADEMIA and many students find those resources helpful. However, I accidentally deleted my account as signed up for premium access in Manchester.

From my experiences, I came to realise one thing. Both the systems work in their own ways. It depends on the students and their attitudes towards education.

Nowadays, many students from low-income families go to private universities as they are desperate for higher education even if it is only for certificates.

Our education system hardly encourages personal development based on personal interests. The system expects everyone to be good at multiple sectors. And unfortunately, the philosophy behind such an education is beyond my intellectual domain. I did well in subjects in which I was passionate about right from the beginning. I merely passed the other ones.

To wind up things, the limitations are abundant in both of the systems — higher studies in public and private universities. It is true that we do not belong to the West but we still need a system which works as a perfect filter for the different types of students with different types of approach towards education in Bangladesh. Both the systems should accommodate individual’s passion and enthusiasm. In near future, we might work on an education system that produces skilled manpower, not just certified graduates.

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About the Author: Ashraf Ahmed

Ashraf Ahmed is a graduate of English Language and Literature from University of Chittagong. He did his MA from Leading University. He pursued a career in information technology.