A timely editorial has appeared in a leading English daily reflecting the problems or battle for admission into schools in the city of Dhaka. As I work in this line, let me say something more about the issue. Dhaka city experiences a tough battle for admission during this season. The metropolitan city witnesses the influx of population from rural and muffasshial areas to share the more civic amenities comparing to other towns and areas through these pose to be very limited. Again being the nerve centre of all administrative and commercial affairs Dhaka city must make avenues for more population. Now it is a national cosmopolitan city with the rich and poor, haves and have-nots, educated and illiterate, sophisticated and slum dwellers, honest people and criminals. Necessarily the problems have tentacled the whole city posing to be too tough to be tackled single-handedly by the government alone. The problems of education have also peeped touching almost all classes of people.
To address the issues of secondary and higher secondary levels several non-government and Missionary educational institutions have come up in an effort to provide relatively better education. Notre Dame College, Viqarunessa School and college, Holly Cross School and College, City and Commercial College, Rajuk Uttara Model School and College can be named. Only twenty-four government Schools cannot afford to hold the increasing stream of students. However, the number of seats in these institutions hardly expands to respond to the increasing number of students. So, problems are getting graver day by day.
Firstly to address the issue the number of seats in all the institutions must be increased. With a view to bridging the gap between the institutions irrespective of government, non-government and missionary schools and colleges, there must be a coordination and cooperative effort by the Ministry of Education and DG. The fact tells that this sort of cooperation hardly prevails now. Every institution follows its particular norms and ways individually in respect of admission and to reduce the battle for admission.
Now if we come to the quality of education, it always raises a question. The famous educational institutions put a lot of mental and psychological pressure on the students to make a good result as it is the only indicator of rating the educational institutions. Surely, they make good results in the public examinations and invite the attention of the guardians to send their wards to those institutions. If they are fortunate enough (!) their wards find their place in these institutions. When admitted they become the hostages of these institutions and develop a kind of extreme repugnance to education as the extra burden and regimentation make their student life bitter which certainly goes against education psychology but who bothers about these things? Guardians think that it’s enough for their wards that they have won the battle for admission.
These famous educational institutions enrol the meritorious students and they become the hostages of the teachers who directly or indirectly invite the students to come to their houses to have private tuition for having their blessings as the students are blessed enough to occupy seats in those institutions. Many guardians cannot afford to send their wards to private tutors and unable to show the results. These students shed tears silently being unable to have the special blessings from the teachers due to their poverty. Society has developed this unhealthy custom bearing omen of evil sign for the nation.
With possible exceptions, almost all the teachers confine their world to private coaching and going to schools/colleges. They teach a particular topic year after year without having any mentionable development. They need to be in touch with other necessary materials and phenomena to impart practical knowledge and elevated teaching to the students. But it sounds peculiar that these teachers are known to be famous ones because of their being successful commercially. Real teaching means and needs something more. Innovation, creativity and conducting research must be attached to effective teaching. Teaching a particular subject for years and having mastery over it does not necessarily ensure effective teaching. It hardly satisfies the queries of the brilliant students who are ever thirsty to know more and more. I can cite an example here; during my teaching in a cantonment college, one of my colleagues was renowned for mathematics, as he had been teaching the subject for fifteen years. However, one day I gave him a sum beyond his textbook and he absolutely failed to do it. But the tradition of education tends to focus on this limited and particular topic resulting in a negative aspect of teaching that also crates the scope of the battle for admission.
Even the famous schools and colleges of Dhaka employ fresh graduates who don’t have any teaching experience particularly to deal with the bright students and children and education psychology. They only know how to create pressure on the students giving them a lot of homework class work. Students are kept in constant threat by them. They don’t bother about increasing their professional ability or increasing their knowledge of the subject. But they don’t lag behind in achieving their commercial targets. This situation has not emerged abruptly. National negligence to education has invited this situation gradually. Again, the bright boys come to teaching temporarily. Being dissatisfied with the ills prevailing in this sector allures them to leave the job. They constantly search for new jobs giving little importance to teaching. If they can manage a job, they salute the institution, if not they grip the commercial side of education as it is now a thriving business. Institutions hardly bother about these issues, as they are already heroes in the open field. Guardians have heaved a sigh of relief sending their wards to the institutions. Government is complacently about allocating the highest budget (?) in the education sector. Though every guardian’s shoe pinches really, they are compelled to endure it. Thus everything is kept suppressed.
To bring novelty in teaching many things need to be done within our economic capability through an integrated approach. Bright students use teaching as a transit period but we have miserably failed to address the issue. By virtue of weak education policy and management many mediocre and low calibre graduates find their place in teaching who can hardily contribute anything positive to education rather than try to expand their business to make their future. With a view to addressing these multifarious issues of education, an integrated approach contributed by the government, professionals of national and international experts are needed.
Another dark side of our educational institutions has seriously vitiated the academic environment that is grouping among the teachers. Incompetent and low calibre teachers embroil themselves in this nasty politics to enjoy different kinds of illegal facilities from the authorities avoiding their main business of teaching. This trend must be changed to bring a healthy situation in our educational institutions for the betterment of our posterity.
Government must establish another public service commission through which teachers would be employed. A subtle and ingenious selection test would be conducted so that no group, personal or political influence may touch the process. When we have a little scope to do it, we must avail it. But it causes irreparable loss to the nation, which we cannot see easily or individually.
To bring novelty in the teaching teachers must be sent to various kinds of training programs, which will remove their monotony, develop their skill and keep them away from involving themselves in nasty politics. Private tuition should not be allowed as it is going on now. It must be revised. As it has struck in our educational arena, it cannot be wiped out immediately but the present form of it must not be entertained in any way. It directly discriminates the students which surely goes against morality and the noble objective of education. But ample arrangements should be opened for the competent and innovative teachers to earn more money at the cost of their honest labour which in no way will raise the question of honesty and morality. People engaged in other professions earn more money easily to get established in the society quickly. So why not teachers? Necessarily it indicates to curb corruption in other sectors to bring a healthy situation in the education sector. When proper education infused with morality cannot be given to the future leaders, I mean the young students of the country corruption in any sector can never be curbed, let alone eradicated.
In the ocean of despair, it raises the ray of hope for us that the achievement of the present government in stopping adopting unfair means in the public examination as well as the battle for admission. It again holds the prospect of doing a better situation in the education sector in future. We can change a lot if we really wish. The move of the present government really proves it which we must appreciate and we should start further moving to redress other issues relating to education.