Sumaiya Iqbal writes about 10mintueschool.com, a web initiative that provides free information and tutorials for university admission tests at home and abroad
There is this dreaded time that comes every year. You have said your final goodbyes to high school, had your last drag of a class and you can almost taste the sweet freedom of having no exams to worry about but life always has a surprise waiting for you! While you are on your way to what you thought would be a piece of cake considering you no longer have to worry about waking up at 6:00am to catch the awful school bus that heartlessly starts at 6:50am and never at 6:51am, sparing not even a minute waiting for you; getting into that exceedingly dull outfit they call a uniform and preparing yourself for a whole day of back to back classes in most of which you were not even paying any attention, your parents suddenly come up to you one morning with anxious faces and ask, ‘Baba, universityr bhorti porikha gulo kobe theke shuru hobe? Kon coaching e jaba decide korecho? Shomoy kintu ekdom hate nai!’ (Do you know when the university admission tests start? Did you decide which coaching centres to go to? You are running out of time!)
You then realise that you have absolutely no clue as to what to do, where to go and how to study for the many tests that determine, if not all, a most significant part of your future. On top of the confusion regarding which university to apply to, which coaching centre to join and where to collect the materials from is the added pressure of the monetary costs! Thousands of takas have to be spent during this time for tutorials.
Now what if someone told you that you could do all of this for free? That you could get all the information you needed and more with just a click? Yes, ‘10minuteschool.com’ is exactly what can help you deal with some of the most stressful parts of life. It is here to cater to thousands of students around the country, helping them prepare for the many standardised tests and exams including those for SSC and HSC, admission into the various public and private universities at home and abroad as well as those required for one’s career. The online facility serves the purpose of a guide providing information not only on the types of tests, their structure and how they are marked but also on the many options a student has if things do not go according to plan. It also allows a student to monitor his/her progress, using a step by step procedure, helping to determine if there has been any improvement in performance. The site is soon to upload learning tutorials too which will act as ‘visual classes’ to assist students even further. All this for absolutely nothing in exchange!
The man behind it all, Ayman Sadiq, a fourth year student at IBA, is a young visionary motivated by the will to see change in the education sector of the country. ‘Bangladesh is the 7th most populated country in the world and among the thousands of students, only but a handful are able to get into their dream universities,’ says Ayman. ‘I remember the trouble I had to go through after my HSC exams. I felt lost and was in dire need of some guidance!’
With considerable experience in teaching as well, Ayman mentions how helpless his students used to feel, some giving the same exams repeatedly year after year for a single seat. Realising that such was the situation of most, he set out to build a website that would provide materials as well as guidance to the various test-takers who in most cases tend to be lost and without proper direction.
Teamed with 37 other bright young minds from universities across the country including IBA, BUET, BRAC, University of Dhaka, Chittagong University and others, 10minuteschool.com has created a much needed bridge to help students cross over to reach their goals.
‘Each of my team members strives to contribute the best he/she can in the various fields of expertise and together they have helped make ‘10minuteschool.com’ what it is now,’ beams Ayman. Starting from the most basic of designs to constructing an entire module, everything is done with careful planning and a lot of cooperation, always keeping in mind the convenience and benefit of the test taker. The site also has its tests both in English and Bangla to make it as accessible as possible to the masses.
‘We want to make sure students from every background, institution or region stands a chance of making it to his/her dream university,’ asserts Ayman.
Dreaming big does come with its share of difficulties and so it is not surprising that having the website up and running was not an easy task. With the idea initiated in 2013, the site took a total of two years to finish. Ayman persevered despite many setbacks and with help from a self taught web page developer, he successfully turned his dream to reality.
10minuteschool.com was finally more than just an idea. Within weeks of the site hitting the internet, there were dozens of individuals willing to work as contributors and in a matter of months, a total of 12 modules were developed.
The project is still self financed but Ayman along with his team is on the lookout for sponsors willing to join in the journey to make learning easier and higher education accessible to all. There are ongoing plans for workshops to be arranged. The team also plans to reach out to more colleges and go beyond the city to the many towns and villages all over the country.
‘We plan to bring a revolutionary change to the education sector. The dream is big but it’s one we believe in and will work towards till the service has reached every student in every household of the country,’ says Ayman passionately.
Still worried about the future that seemed so uncertain all this time? ‘10minuteschool.com’ is proof that the simplest of ideas can turn out to be the biggest and most promising if combined with a little bit of passion, cooperation and the will to go that extra mile!