They, the young say, would love to see Bangladesh as a land of opportunities, a country where unethical practice is condemned and innovation is upheld.
Many young people of Bangladesh today aspire to having honest leadership, change through ballot and fair politics for the betterment of the country.
“Yes, I have a dream,” says one of them, quoting American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Junior’s march for jobs and freedom.
Smooth transport facilities, a clean city, and an end of sexual harassment and child marriage, are some of their dreams, despite adverse realities – horrific traffic congestion and gridlocks, suffocating pollution, and violence against women and vulnerable groups.
Many of them are ready to offer help to the helpless, to those in need of medical attention and shelter and even to assert freedom of expression.
Obviously disturbed by question paper leaks and corruption in job hiring, the youth demand an education system free from commercial motive, fresh employment and fair recruitment.
Asked by a Prothom Alo English team, a number of young people have spelled out what they want to have and do, for the country and its generations to come.
Apart from expressing their enthusiasm and optimism about the country, they are equally concerned about its problems ranging from corruption and nepotism to dictatorial behaviour of political parties.
Here are the verbatim statements of the youth:
Sabrina Islam Diba, student of the Department of Marketing, University of Dhaka
The worst problem now is ‘question paper leaks’, a problem I want to get rid of immediately. The trend of question leaks can easily paralyse our education system and the entire nation.
I want to see the people of the Bangladesh getting what they should get. Besides five basic rights, I dream of a Bangladesh where freedom of speech, freedom of writing and freedom of roaming around are established. And this can be possible through building social awareness and with the help from the government.
I believe I need to become a good citizen for the country and at the same time to represent my country at the world stage through my work. I would like to contribute to making people aware of several issues and volunteer to teach street children.
Amanul Islam Khan, student of Mechanical Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
We want to get rid of traffic congestion since it causes our daily suffering. But I see no signs of any solution.
There are several sectors where we can develop ourselves. But, Bangladesh must act against corruption beginning with the education sector. I have a dream to see a Bangladesh where there will be corruption-free education and examination system.
I always see myself as an asset for the country. So I’ll try to enrich myself in the coming days.
Rizvan Khandaker, student of BBA at East West University
Women in Bangladesh nowadays are victims of bullying and sexual harassment in public places and they sometimes find no one to help them. As a woman, I no longer want to meet such awkward situations.
I want to see Bangladesh as a better place for living. For this, we need responsible and honest people as government employees. Political leadership can be changed after every five years but the public servants can’t be changed overnight.
I myself will start a business soon and through this I think I’ll be able to contribute to my country.
Inam Ahammad, student of Oldenburg University, Germany
The entire education system in Bangladesh has been a hazard. We want a modern education system, free from political violence, for the sake of future Bangladesh.
We dream of a Bangladesh where freedom of the media and all political parties and people’s freedom of expression are established. The dictatorial behaviour of so-called democratic political parties needs to be addressed and this is one way to achieve our national targets.
Voting plays a key role in making decent citizens. By participating in the elections we hope to see changes in the current conditions of the country.
Pritam Chakraborty, MBA student of the Department of Marketing, University of Dhaka
Yes, “I have a dream” like Martin Luther King Junior had for the Americans. I do want to see a Bangladesh where education will be for life, not for a mere degree to boast about.
We often see graduates from engineering schools successfully completing their post-graduation from business schools and joining multinational corporations. It is shameful that we cannot offer proper subject-oriented job opportunities to our national assets and thus they are becoming a liability for our nation, rather than change makers. If it is not possible to place them in the proper fields, then there is hardly any need of higher education for everyone.
I want to see a Bangladesh where everybody will do something for everybody rather somebody do something for somebody and somebody will do nothing but lament. A simple change from the base can be a giant leap for the whole nation.
More and more technical, professional and entrepreneurship-oriented courses should be introduced and then a minimal level of assistance needs to be assured so that a learning-specific workforce can be created.
Sujan Khan, student of BBA at Jahangirnagar University
In my experience, traffic congestion is the worst problem and I am sure people want to get rid of this suffering.
Seeing a Bangladesh free from the evil of question paper leaks is a dream. This, I think, is possible through exemplary punishment of the culprits.
I myself shall take the responsibility of at least one street child and bear his/her expenses. I’ll try to organise a club along with my friends and get closer acquainted which will work for the betterment and education of some street children.
Shafikul Hasan Shabuj, diploma engineer who graduated from Mymensingh Polytechnic Institute
A few of my friends, not me, succeeded in securing jobs as they had strong political connection and money. I was a witness to political party men doing business with almost everything.
Daily expenses for bringing up a child are tough to bear nowadays. Depending on contractual jobs and running from one place to another, it has been difficult to maintain a stable life.
I think it requires only five years for a government to change the country. If a government is strict, it can at least stop the illicit business of its party people.
Abu Naser Md. Ehsanul Haque, Victoria, Australia
I was involved with a student political organisation but I am no more a party man. I feel good that I have a job at least.
But I cannot imagine of the predicament of the other youths still trapped there. Their slogans may vary but their process does not. Somehow, the sacred power of youth is being abused, unfortunately.
I think, a youth should dream and take initiative. Platforms must also be created by the state for them. The state has to prepare the best curriculum for students from the primary level to university. It is important to redefine and restructure the education system.
Youth must learn to make decisions.
Mamun Bhuiyan, a migrant returnee, from Brahmanbaria
Cheated in South Africa after I went there seeking employment, I managed to return home and eventually found the job as a medical representative.
I measure people’s blood pressure too. I sell medicine and readymade garments in the city’s Kathalbagan area. However, I think, I deserve better than this. If employment was fair here I would not have needed to look overseas for a job. I tried to avoid being cheated but failed.
Saiful Hoque, lecturer at Department of Textile Engineering, Daffodil International University
There are many problems in our country now, but I am more concerned about the question paper leaks. Its impact would be realised after a decade when young generation would be there with excellent academic certificates but frustrated and unemployed.
I want a Bangladesh to be a place of skilled manpower. To do so, commoners, businessmen, and industrialists should come forward to invest in the education sector. We can follow the example of the countries where people donate at the university trust funds. We can achieve this trend here so that modern laboratories and libraries can be established for the students.
I wish to work on increasing research work at personal and institutional levels and thus contribute to our education sector.
Shamika Ahmed Sohani, student at Department of Mathematics, University of Barisal
Unemployment is the worst problem of our time and we must get rid of it as soon as possible. A huge number of students are graduating every year in our country, with an uncertainty of getting a suitable job.
We want to see Bangladesh as a land of opportunities, a land where inventors can work on their own inventions, a land where researchers get necessary funds for their research work, overall the graduates get proper facilities for their startups.
In my university I usually take part in social and co-curricular activities, and will do so in the coming days. And I would like to work for my country as a teacher in near future.
Lipika Paul, postgraduate in information science and library management from Dhaka University
Struggling for a job for five years, I live a very insecure life. I had so many dreams when I got admitted to the university. Good results are common but there is hardly any employment. Many of our classmates now feel a technical degree could have been better for us.
I work in a private company but it does not look so promising. As long as the private sector fails to offer the same privilege, security and independence, it will continue to fail to attract the youth. The society salutes mainly the civil service cadres.
As a girl still unmarried, I have a burden with myself which is difficult to bear. I think, the government must pursue fair employment policy, provide training facilities for skills development and create new employments to solve unemployment.
Abu Saleh, BBA student at University of Dhaka
Today many of our educational institutions are doing business in the name of providing education. That’s why education is now a product in spite of being our basic right and it becomes so costly for the middle and lower middle class family.
Traffic congestion is another problem as we have to spend most of the time in congestion. Each gridlock kills a minimum of 30 minutes. Our government can minimise the problem by completing the under-constructed roads soon.
We see, ethics is now confined to our textbooks. Hardly anybody pays any heed to the words of ethical values. If we can bring up our children from their childhood with proper values, it can bring good results in addressing corruption. It’s tough but not impossible.
Lata Rani Dey, student at Department of Accounting, Eden Mohila College, National University
The worst problem that I face every day and want relief from, is the transport crisis.
Also, many people of Bangladesh do not know about our country and its history. I would love to see Bangladesh in a position where people will be well-informed about their roots.
I think, clean Dhaka is possible if people are bit aware of cleanliness. I want to contribute to making people aware of using dustbins properly.
Fariha Tabassum Piya, student at Management Studies, University of Dhaka
I see tons of problems such as traffic congestion, corruption and question paper leaks that disturb us and our life as a whole.
I dream of a city and country free from traffic congestion. But I don’t know if that is possible or not. If that happens I will not have to catch a bus at 8am to watch a movie at 11:30am.
We badly need a solution to the problem of question paper leaks. During my higher secondary certificate exams, I saw some students solving multiple choice questions in front of the exam hall and some of ‘honourable’ teachers took pictures of the questions and sent it to them.
I am also tired of witnessing what is called ‘Eve-teasing’ (stalking). As a girl I know how it feels to be harassed. I am in favour of banning sexist jokes that harm others.
Moniruzzaman Monir, youth from Bhola selling tea in Bangla Motor, Dhaka
My father was a farmer but it was no longer possible to earn enough through this occupation that has been in the family for generations. I feel so insecure about my children.
My life in the country would have been different had I been able to practice ‘cheating’ or ‘extortion’ as means of livelihood. However, I don’t regret being what I am today.
Sagorika Sharmin, student at Department of Psychology (Master's), University of Dhaka
I will be content with a quota-free job market. I think quota preferences cannot do any good for jobseekers or even for the government.
My position on question paper leaks is: Put a full stop here. There should be zero tolerance in society to corruption.
Shamima Jahan, (MSc in Environment), at Department of Soil, Water and Environment, University of Dhaka
There is still session jam in our education system. And, I would recommend the authorities concerned to address it.
As a citizen, I hope to see Bangladesh as a least polluted country in the global index.
I am very keen on doing an environment cleaning campaign beginning from my home and my campus.
Tasnim Tabassum Tisha, 18, student, Tepra, Manikganj
We want to get rid of stalking and question paper leaks.
I want a Bangladesh free from child marriage. Mass education and awareness must be ensured for this.
I will try my best to make my near ones think and be moral, so that they can prevent these things.
Roksana Akter, management postgraduate from Rajbari Government College, who also passed non-government teachers registration exam
Every time I hear someone who sat in the recruitment exam with me later secured job, perhaps by means of bribes, my heart sinks. After losing years looking for job and seeing corrupt practices, I have given up trying. Family, friends and society – everyone asks about marriage, profession and so on.
Inzamam, a fresh graduate from Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP)
A major problem Bangladesh would like to get rid of is the Rohingya crisis that is affecting us as a nation. The refugees are also turning out to be a huge burden on our already poverty-torn country. They are also getting involved in crimes.
I would like to see Bangladesh as a country that takes care of their innovators. There are a lot of people in the country who are very innovative. But the problem is they don't have the funding to work in their projects.
As a citizen of Bangladesh, I would love to work to help the people who cannot receive medication. I would work as an activist for the sample medicines that doctors receive and then decimate them to the people in dire needs.
Fatema Khanam, student of law at Jagannath University
At present, I think question paper leaks are a major problem in Bangladesh, especially for the future of the youth. We want an end to this situation.
I dream of a clean Bangladesh and recommend recovery of canals in the cities and towns for draining out water. We demand markets free from polythene bags.
I will try my best and also encourage others to throw waste in dustbins.
Sujay Chowdhury, MSC in Electrical and Electronics, Khulna University of Engineering Technology
I want my country to get rid of sexual violence and question paper leaks.
Awareness about our system — education, policymaking and citizen rights are essential. People have to know these. The situation can be changed through building awareness.
I want to be part of awareness raising campaigns to help others and contribute to the society.