Students, who depend on their own income for managing their study and living costs, are now apprehending any more lockdown will worsen their situation further as they already have exhausted their savings in last one year.
Mohammad Sazzad Hossain Sajib is no exception. He is doing a bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Govt Titumir College under the University of Dhaka. In February, he sat for his final examination of the undergraduate programme and is waiting for results.
“My father, a retired government service holder, died in 2008 when I was a little primary schoolboy. My elder brothers are job holders and they take good care of me but I have been trying to earn the money I need for my study and living costs since my higher secondary level,” Sajib told.
As the cost of living in a bustling city like Dhaka is high, so students of relatively poor economic background have to learn and earn together. At the end of the day, private tutoring holds the key to the problem of mobilising pocket money and other expenses.
“I need around Tk6,000 to Tk7,000 for my living expenses every month. Before the pandemic I had three private tuitions and I also used to teach at an English coaching centre. From those sources I had a reasonable income every month and after the payment of all of my costs, I had a little amount of savings,” he added.
Sajib, who is now preparing for the upcoming Bangladesh Civil Services (BCS) examination, is also secretly nurturing the dream of going abroad for higher studies with scholarship, said, “I went to my hometown and stayed there for many months from March last year. In September, I came back to Dhaka to make preparations for my final examinations. Still then I continued doing two tuitions and taking limited number of online classes in a coaching centre, though the income was insufficient for my need.”
“But that too came to a halt, following the government-announced second lockdown. Four other fellow students living with me were caught off guard with no money at hand. Like my fellows, I have no class, no income and no work to do but to bear the brunt of lockdown. I don't know when they would return to institutions,” Sajib added with a worried look.
“We used to live in a flat with a total of six members; two of them left the house due to financial crisis from March this year. They left Dhaka permanently. They don't know when will they come back. So from next month, the rest of four members will have to pay extra house rent which mount the burden on at a time my income dwindled severely. If the situation continues to prolong, I too will cancel rental contract with the landlord and leave Dhaka permanently,” said Sajib from a sense of considerable uncertainty about the future.
He apprised that actually now he has no choice other than bearing his own expenditures. From a sense of responsibility, he doesn’t seek financial help from his brothers who are lone breadwinners for their families.
“There is no living cost left with me; even if I go back to my hometown all of my preparations would go astray. My career is in reverse gear, making me frustrated day by day though I am trying to seize the day,” said Sajib.