Rajshahi College: The Department of English

--Professor Dr. Mussamat Rokeya Begum

English

The Department of English has achieved a renowned place for its past and present successes in the history of Rajshahi College. The inception of Rajshahi College widened an opportunity for higher studies in the field of English Literature and Language to the people of the Undivided Bengal. Due to the ever-expanding popularity of the college, many learned and reputed persons all over India were inspired to come and serve this institution. Moreover, the guardians also considered it prestigious to send their children to study here.

Since the establishment of Rajshahi College English had been taught at the F.A and B.A classes as a compulsory subject. Afterwards, in 1878 Honours course in English was introduced in the college and with that date the history of English Department started.

In 1910 Calcutta University affiliated the college for teaching the students of M.A class and only four departments including English had the prestige of being a department with post graduate students. However, from 1931-32 session the affiliation for the Masters Degree course in the college was withdrawn. Thus the department continued teaching the students of F.A (later Intermediate and presently known as HSC) and B.A classes.

The department had its office in the Fuller Hostel building and in 1964 it was shifted to the ground floor of the newly constructed Library and Auditorium building. The department stayed there till 1996 and with the rapid increase of the number of students after the re-introduction of Masters courses it  was shifted to the ground floor of another newly constructed building (presently known as the 2nd Science building)  where it continued functioning till 1999. As the space was not sufficient to manage everything smoothly, the college authority accepted the proposal of the department to work in the newly constructed Library building near the mosque. The two storied building houses the offices of the department, a seminar library, the staff room and three spacious class rooms. Presently the department teaches the students of HSC, Honours and Pass courses and Masters Degree courses under the affiliation and curriculum of the Board of Secondary and Higher Education, Rajshahi and the National University, Gazipur.

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In different times the department was glorified with a number of internationally recognized English teachers whose reputation often crossed the national boundary. The catalogue of the excellent teachers in the department since the beginning includes the  names like Prof. G.S Bhattachrya, Prof. Satyaprasad Sengupta, , Prof. Abu Hena Prof. Kabir Chowdhury, Professor A M M Azhar Hossain, Prof. Amanullah Ahmed, Professor Sadruddin Ahmed, Professor Md. Noman, Prof. Abu Mohammad, Prof. Abu Rushd Matinuddin, Prof. Mohamad Ali, Prof. Tahir Jamil, Prof. Maulavi Sirajur Rahman, Prof. Elias Ahmed, Prof. A.M.M. Azhar Hossain, , Prof. Golam Yahia Chowdhury, Prof. Mozibur Rahman Talukdar, Prof. Ayesa Khanum, Prof. Md. Abdul Jalil, Prof, A.S.M Muarraf, Mr. Md. Amir Ali Sardar, Prof. Abu Hena Jafar, Prof. Md. Abdur Rahman, Prof, Md. Abdul Khaleque, Prof. Sher Mohammad, Prof. Shaikh Din Mohammad, Prof. Ferdous Nigar Hossain, Prof. Abdur Noor, Prof. Suraiya Parveen, Prof. Mohammad Abdur Rab Choudhury, Professor M Alauddin and Professor Md. Mahfuzur Rahman. They served this department and other institutions successfully for many years.

At present the department is headed by Prof. Dr. Musammat Rokeya Begum. She tries her best to create a very friendly and supportive environment both for teachers and students. She strongly believes in team work and everything is done through a team. All the decisions in the department are taken in a democratic process. So all teachers can participate in decision making and they happily work hard to implement all the decisions. Students are encouraged to be open to their teachers so that they can share their academic difficulties as well as their personal problems. A team spirit always prevails and helps to do any work in the department.

The department aims at providing quality teaching and learning in English language and literature. It has an assembly of 15 qualified teachers and they are working hard and sincerely to develop the proficiency of the students. About 1100 students are presently enrolled with the department at the Honours and Masters Degree courses while other 2000 students are taught English at HSC and Pass course studies.

The seminar of English Department is rich with a wide variety of books, articles and criticism on language and literature. The department purchases books every year for the seminar library emphasising the needs of students. A teacher of the department is assigned the responsibility of issuing seminar cards, conducting needs assessment and updating the catalogue of the library. The positive thing is that the students borrow books from here quite frequently.

English department is playing a pivotal role in enhancing technology-friendly ambience by introducing multimedia in the teaching-learning process. Most of the teachers conduct powerpoint presentation basically in the language classes either to impart lesson or to give feedback. These classrooms can better be termed as technology-friendly as the main intention is to make lessons effective extracting the best out of modern equipments. To minimize shortcomings of a large classroom those language classes are often conducted by two teachers. The teachers are quite well aware of new techniques and strategies of teaching a language. Moreover, we have been able to develop the tradition of powerpoint presentation of students as we feel that the skill of presentation is one of the prerequisites to have an access in the job market.

The relationship between teachers and students is very sound and the teachers are always ready to respond to academic and cultural issues positively. Besides imparting lessons in the classroom, teachers invigorate students to arrange cultural programmes. Participation in cultural activities help students develop their confidence, necessary to meet challenges of modern life. Attaining skill in English language is not the solitary aim of this department, rather the teachers of this department envision their students to emerge as patriots by involving themselves in social service. Skills in language teach students to get jobs and withstand the difficulties of real life, while literature teaches them to implement their knowledge in a generous way. The students have spontaneously responded to the dream of the department by forming a debating club ‘Mirror’ and it has expedited the cultural activities of English Department as well. Debate teaches a person to adopt a confident and logical attitude towards life. That is why, the students expected to be imbued with the essence of efficiency and honesty.