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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 119| May 17, 2009|


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Photo: Wasama Doja

Earn While
You Learn

Sarah Z H, Tanzina Rahman, Mahdin Mahboob, Tawsif Saleheen, Nazia Ahmed, Tabassum Mokhduma, Fariha Ishrat Khandaker & Ridwan Karim

Part time jobs have always attracted university and college level students for more reasons than one. We have heard from our fathers and grandfathers about lodging-masters, brilliant students who used to stay in the houses of well-off people in big cities and teach their children while pursuing their own studies in colleges and universities. This practice started in this region in the British era and survived through the Pakistani rule and continued after the independence as well. For many of them, choosing to be the full time home tutor was not an option, but a necessity.

Today, in the twenty first century, many other avenues of part time jobs have opened up for the students of colleges and universities. Starting from good old home tuition to teaching in schools and coaching centres, to becoming call centre executives and to the more recent trends of becoming online bloggers and radio jockeys, opportunities seem to be unlimited and ever growing.

Photo: Tanzina Rahman

LOOKING into most popular part-time jobs among the university students, private tuitions have taken its stand to attract significant amount of individuals. To some it is the flexible timing, while to others it's the notion of the profession that appears to be the most convenient way of earning money.

"It's easier for a university student to get these tuitions and manage them rather than to get fixed part-time jobs. We arrange the timing with the students according to our timetable. And there are other reasons as well, I feel independent and I can also bear my expenses rather than being a pain for my parents" explained Nazia Sultana, 21, student of Independent University Bangladesh, School of Business.

While Z Z Khan, a 3rd year student at North South University said she has been teaching students of different age groups since the days of her A levels. "Teaching is all about learning how to deal with different kinds of people. By getting a chance to interact with students of different age groups, one can learn about the psychology of students and how they react to certain situations. If someone is interested in taking up teaching as a profession in the future then part time tutoring gives you a great opportunity to guide other people and master a sense of responsibility. One can tutor up to 20 to 30 students in a batch depending on his or her capacity. For much younger kids, one mustn't try to tutor more than 6 at a time. Khan believes teaching makes her a better person and is a fun job at the end of the day. The amount of money that is earned through part time teaching is fairly decent. The only drawback about this job would be at times it could make you tired and not want to do your own studies!"

Furthermore, female university students tend to take junior level classes at private English medium schools as well. It appears that, for most of them it is a more convenient way of earning money, since the timing of their work is more suited with their university schedules. The pay is not so bad either.

According to the school administration, university students can relate more to the classes they teach. When asked, a bunch of fifth graders seemed pretty excited to have a teacher who was not so old and taught them with more enthusiasm. From the perspective of these part-time teachers, it's an easy and fun way to make money, gain experience, and add another line on their resume.

Thus, it seems that there is a well-balanced symbiosis.
Teaching Assistantship in universities is another such profession. During the course of their studies, high CGPA holder students secure employment as TAs. The profession enhances their comprehensive reading skills as well as adds value to teaching profession if they consider pursuing in the related field.

After completing his A Levels, Azeezur Rahman Khan joined Chittagong Grammar School, Chittagong (CGS) as an Assistant Physics Trainee Teacher last August, the school from where he completed his A Levels. Now enrolled in Physics in University College London (UCL), he firmly believes that what he learned all these days while teaching actually helped him a lot to increase his knowledge and go in-depth about Physics. He said, “My classes will start within a couple of months and I am happy that because of my job I have learned a lot which will help me in my undergraduate programme. Moreover, because of this job I got both economic independence and experience, which is priceless as this experience will boost my chances of getting scholarships in future”.

Call Centre is another field that is becoming one of the most progressive industries in Bangladesh. It's also an industry that relies heavily on part timers. Many private Call Centres in Bangladesh are staffed by university students and in some cases fresh A level/ HSC graduates. While it gives the students an exposure to the international market, due to the late working hours in a call centre it also acts as an added stress.

Nur-Us Shams who is associated with Orbit Communications, one of the leading call centres in Bangladesh has talked about the reason why many call centres prefer recruiting part timers.

"One of the major problems faced by the call centre industry of our country is that we don't have well trained man power. As a result the industry has to depend on part timers. Due to time difference with the western world, students employed in the call centres have to work in the night shift. This might create imbalance in the student's life. As a result, call centres that employ students as part timers should adopt practices that reduce their work stress,” he said.

Thanks to the steady growth of private television and radio channels in Bangladesh, opportunities are now opening up for students as newscasters and radio jockeys.

Frizea Talukdar is an MBA student who works as a part time newsreader at Bangladesh Television. She said it's a lot of pressure when she has exams and a news reading schedule at the same time. Her job is otherwise rewarding as she can learn about what is happening around the world and from such a reliable source. She has been working for two years and sometimes had to miss classes because she had schedules set earlier for the day. However, Frizea is not satisfied with the amount of money she earns from her job.

Nafeez Karim studies BBA at Independent University Bangladesh. He said, "I'm working as a part time Radio Jockey for the last six months. After a rigorous 25 days of training from the producers and the more experienced RJs, I joined Radio Aamar as a part time Radio Jockey. I have my own show on air and have to work 2 hours a week. My employers are very understanding if I can't make it to the office due to exams."

Sometimes the part timers have a chance to work extra in shifts. Nafeez stresses on the fact that the working environment is worthy. Although they are given a basic guideline on how to make things work the RJs are always encouraged to explore creativity and bring in new ideas to transform the programs into something better. When asked whether he is satisfied with the amount of money he earns from his job, he said the level of his satisfaction waivers somewhere in between.

Omer Nashaad a private university student shared his views on his part time job as a DJ and studying at the same time.

"I started off as a mobile DJ back in Canada at Windsor. When I came back, I continued being a DJ beside my studies. The key is to keep yourself updated on the latest as well as the old music as much as you can. Once you have that rolling, you're a hit!

"From the financial point of view, being a DJ brings in fast money. As for bridging between studies and the job, frankly, it all depends on how you divide your time. I, for example, chose weekends to do DJ shows, which never clashed with my classes," he added.

Photo: Tanzina Rahman

Sabhanaz Rashid has been working as a part time photographer for the last 8/9 months. Most of her works are assignment based. She has worked for a popular English teen magazine called Rising Stars and Cotton Bangladesh group. Sometimes she sells her photos, which give her an opening as an aspiring artist. She sells them depending on the usage of the photo and the level of copyright. Photography for her is about exercising a level of creativity with much fun and excitement. She proudly pronounced that her part time job as a photographer hasn't affected her studies as she carefully kept the two things separate. She likes to call her job surprisingly refreshing and exciting in a very positive way.

Nowadays many of the students go into the field of event management. According to Saif of Game Theory (A new age innovative media solutions company): this particular field is not suitable for students who want to achieve a good grade and graduate in time. This is because of the long hours and tedious workload. It mainly includes organizing events, making sure the banners, caterers, MCs, and decorations are in place to run a successful event.

Meanwhile, many students from Computer Science background, and others from non-technical backgrounds who have trained themselves in different web-developing software are finding web-development projects and making good money out of it. Some students are writing articles and taking pictures for different websites while some students have even gone onto the entrepreneurial level by opening local ISPs (Internet Service Providers) themselves.

Hussain M. Elius has been web designing for sometime now. It started out as a hobby but when he realized that he was growing a very keen interest in the job, he decided to make it his part time source of earning. He is a first year student at a private university in Dhaka and has already worked for One Degree Initiative, The Daily New Age, Business Report and a Norwegian cosmetic company. Hussain thinks web designing is particularly linked with personal development. It requires a certain kind of mental skill and a great deal of patience. It's true that at times he got carried away by the huge amount of money this job offered him and as a result flunked in his studies; he also became conscious about not overworking himself. He has promised to himself that he will not work on more than one website in a month.

While, Rajiv Ashrafi loves writing and is currently enrolled at a well known private university of the country. He has been working as a part time blogger for the last 2 years. He works for two sites, Digital Battle and Screenhead which regularly offers reviews, news and interviews on games and movies. He believes, it is worth it because you can sit at home and stay connected doing exactly what you're required to do. This experience will earn him acceptance later in life when he wants to move into something more serious. The only difference is, working for an online magazine or a site doesn't allow you to meet the people physically. So far it hasn't affected his studies since he can do it all without having to travel anywhere and the payment he says is quite good. Md. Sarfaraz Khan is a student at the Jahangirnagar University. Since last October he coupled with some of his friends has been working part time as Internet Service Providers in Uttara.Some parts of the outskirts of Uttara had no access to Internet services and Sarfaraz thought it would be great if he could make arrangements by providing broadband Internet services especially to the students who lived in that particular area. So he went on with his plan and now successfully runs Clicknet online services. He has divided his time with his other friends to look after their venture. He mostly works 2 to 3 days a week and enjoys it very much. The amount of money he makes from his job is quite enough to keep him going for the month. He gladly shares that his job has only helped him in his studies as he can learn more about business and other practicalities from his experience.

On a different note, between the past few years, many foreign franchises such as KFC, Pizza Hut and A&W have started their business in Bangladesh. Restaurant business, which is also considered as one of the promising business here, continues to thrive as well. However, working at fast-food chains and restaurants is somewhat a taboo in this country. It is unlikely to find high school or university students working in fast-food chains, which is a usual custom in western countries. During summer vacations and semester breaks, fast-food and restaurants opens temporary employment positions. Since students tend to seek for temporary job placements, these positions stand as the perfect match. "I chose to serve in a restaurant because I knew it was fast money, I can make large amounts of cash tips in a few hours to help pay for bills, tuition and my lifestyle," said Danielle Renee Jones, 21, a student of paediatrics in Ohio State University (US). "The hours aren't typically too bad, and I can have a flexible schedule for the most part. I can earn what some people make working 20-40 hours a week, in only three days!" she added. Unlike United States, society here downgrades these jobs plus swingeing unemployment makes it difficult to get into such placements.

Shama Zainab Ali of BRAC University a professor of Architecture said, "In my department I see students working in firms as part timers helping out in making models, drafts and drawings. This not only enhances their capabilities as architecture students but also provokes them to take up responsibility in their own works.

A few days ago I saw an undergrad student of Titumeer college (as she said) selling encyclopaedia at my door. I really appreciated such efforts by these young people who are eager to help their parents support their education. I hope to see that someday this country, like India and other developing countries of the subcontinent cater students to work in bookshops, restaurants, coffee shops and so many other places where we normally expect to see uneducated or middle aged people from underprivileged backgrounds."

Few students can now deny the self-dependence that comes with being able to earn their own pocket money and not having to take it from their parents. For many, the work experience gained while they are still students make their résumé stand out while applying for jobs at the end of their studies. However, some seem to get indulged in their work a bit too much, which at times result in falling grades at the cost of earning more.


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