Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (Buet) has changed their admission criteria policy for Advanced (A) levels students on 16 April 2022. Previously, the policy used to be that applicants must attain a minimum of 3 A's – equivalent to Grade Point Average (GPA) 5.00 in each subject – in purely science subjects at A levels to be able to take the entry exam.
For their Ordinary (O) level, English medium students have to achieve 5 B's – equivalent to GPA 4.00 – in Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry and one other subject. Applicants under Bangladesh's national curriculum have to get CGPA 5.00 in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry & CGPA 4.00 in Bangla & English in both of SSC & HSC exams.
On paper, (HSC) exams under Bangladesh's national curriculum are equivalent to A levels exams. But in reality even attaining two A's in A levels, is in and of itself a tall order for most students.
Historically, Buet's admission policy for English Medium students meant that almost none of them ever studied in Buet. Some of these same students, however, ended up at top universities abroad.
The policy change has now created somewhat a level playing field for the English Medium students to have a fighting chance of getting into Buet.
Ashraful Huda, who teaches Physics at one well known coaching centre named Vertical Horizon, operating out of Dhanmondi in Dhaka, remarked, "You will find A levels graduates in IBA, DU and many other reputed universities abroad, but almost exclusively not in Buet.
As a teacher I try my best to facilitate my students to make it into Buet but their policy used to be too stringent until they conceded 2 A's and 1 B in pure science subjects for taking the admission exam at Buet."
Saiyadis Saklain Bin Sayed has just graduated from O Level and is now an Edexcel International Advanced Level (IAL) AS student. Young Saklain aspires to go to Buet for his bachelor's degree and is preparing under Ashraful Huda for his AS Physics exam, which he is set to take this year.
Saklain said, "I must be practical when it comes to my future. I do want to get into Buet but it used to seem untenable for us English medium students." So he was planning to trade studying his bachelor's in Bangladesh for education abroad. He mentioned that most of his friends used to share the sentiment as well, until they chanced upon Buet's new lenient policy for A levels students.
Then he added, "However, Buet's concession of 2 A's and 1 B from their 3 A's policy gives me some hope. Now it feels like I can resume dreaming about Buet. Even 2 A's are not easily obtained in A levels but I shall take this concession as a good sign and study harder."
For Ashraful and Saklain – the teacher-pupil duo – this is a huge opportunity.
Ashraful added, "It is actually, you know, good to see that finally the government, the educational ministry and all the concerned authorities are recognising English medium students because they have been playing quite a pivotal role in a lot of sectors already."
"This sector of education has been prominent for the last three decades. A lot of leaders have come from an English medium background. This concession is highly encouraging and hats off to the concerned authority," he went on.