Interview Mr. Rahman
This interview has been published on the occasion of a delegate travel to Germany from 10 to 16 May. Sixteen PASCH Principles and coordinators from Southeast Asia will participate in this prestigious trip in order to enhance their knowledge about the German education system and culture as well as to exchange ideas and opinions about the PASCH Programme and upcoming projects in Southeast Asia.
We have asked the participating principle of South Point School & College, Mr Matiur Rahman, about his expectations towards the upcoming trip. Looking back on six years of PASCH Programme at South Point School & College, Mr Rahman shares his view on German classes and the importance of foreign language learning as well as his thoughts on more recent events like the school’s management of cancellations of lessons caused by hartals.
1. How long have you been working as a PASCH Principal? How would you describe your work as a principal with respect to your school being a PASCH School?
I have been working as a PASCH Principal for four years now. Personally, as a principal I would like to see how the students improve and maintain high grades and involve in various school activities. German was introduced in our curriculum as an extracurricular activity. According to our strategy, I made the subject compulsory by offering three classes per week to the students. It feels good to be the principal of a PASCH School, because this programme has been bridging gaps between more than 1500 schools around the globe and has given us the privilege of being a part of this network.
2. What importance do German classes have for your students and the reputation of your school?
We all know that learning German surely has importance. It is a subject that has hardly been explored in South Asia. The students themselves are proud of learning German. For the last few years, they are receiving scholarships which can be seen as motivating for other students to learn the language. It is also a matter of reputation that among thousands of schools in Bangladesh our school initially started teaching this subject at school level, thus giving a chance to the students, teachers, and parents.
3. Which positive changes can you see in students who are taking German classes (also in comparison to students who did not choose to study German)?
Learning the German language has given the students a wider world to look upon. They have gained confidence in their abilities. They also enhanced interest in global issues as well as a broader knowledge in general. I see that a tremendous sense of accomplishment develops through the completion of a course which in turn encourages them to attain new goals.
4. What is the feedback of PASCH-students’ parents regarding PASCH?
Regarding the feedback of guardians I would say there are mixed reactions. The positive responses are mostly based on foreign language learning opportunities, connections to the outer world at a small age, and advancement in professional life. Negative responses are somewhat like extra burden of studies, strain on children, or cultural discrepancies.
5. Which difficulties have you faced i.e. conduction of German classes, political situation etc., and how did you master them? Do you feel well supported by the PASCH Office?
Difficulties, whatever they might be, have never been disadvantages for conducting German classes. Of course, we are short in space and teaching staff, but the excitement and enthusiasm of students and the assistance provided by the PASCH Office has kept us going on. The PASCH Office has equipped us with modern teaching-, learning- and cultural studies material that is multimedia-compatible. Moreover, they are providing advanced methodological and didactic trainings as well as language courses for the teachers.
Here, I also want to mention that during the political unrest in the country, except for a few days, our school had normal classes following a regular routine. The lessons missed during this period were worked off in free periods and some were given as homework.
6. You are participating in the delegate travel to Germany in May. Which expectations do you have? Do you think you will personally benefit from this travel? If so, how?
In this modern age of globalization, I do believe that a cross-cultural curriculum is essential for our society, because formal schooling is not simply a matter of teaching and learning but also about values, assumptions, feelings, perceptions and relationships. Therefore, the purpose of schooling should provide education that is a systematic effort to facilitate the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values necessary for the students to function in a diverse society, and hence enrich the society’s economic strength.
I already have an idea about the Australian education system and multicultural society by completing GradDipEd (Science) from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Now, it is a fabulous opportunity for me to enrich my knowledge about the German education system, culture, and society by participating in this delegate travel to Germany, which is the land of scientists.
I will personally benefit from this travel, and in the light of my achievements my institution will benefit as well.