The Planning and Development Unit of DSHE has done a commendable job for the nation in general and education in particular. It has conducted a survey on the ability of teachers of the secondary level to prepare questions following the creative system which the government introduced in the country in 2009. The findings the unit has released really baffle the people working in the field of education. Of course, what they have identified and found is usually supposed to happen as the teacher recruitment policy still does not maintain quality in the real sense of the term. Though the recruitment test has been introduced, the teacher employment still sees political consideration. A huge amount of bribe is taken from the candidates to give employment. This is a common scenario in all the fields but in the education it harms the nation doubly. The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education’s planning and development unit has found that most of the school teachers lack competence in preparing question papers following the creative system of examinations. Comments have been collected by some newspapers from teachers who claim that they are not getting sufficient training from government’s side for developing their skills. This is also a plain truth.
It is a true fact that to bring all the teachers under a training program within a short time is really a herculean task on the part of the government. Teachers have some professional and moral responsibilities to get to know the new things of their own accord in the field of education which they hardly do. Besides training they can collect a lot of information regarding education and the changes taking place in the field of education both at home and abroad from different sources particularly from newspapers, electronic media and internet. These are not only for our entertainment. This media world can satisfy a lot of our education hunger. But I become astonished to see the teachers’ access to and have an idea about a newspaper. All the newspapers particularly English newspapers contain a lot of education materials as well as educational information of the world which can enrich a teacher beyond imagination. How they will enrich themselves if they don’t utilize it for that purpose? Many English teachers of government colleges don’t read English newspapers. Though some of them read, they don’t read it for educational purpose or don’t read it seriously. But they don’t forget to pose themselves as government college teachers without having a good amount of the latest information of the world. The same thing goes with cadet college teachers and the teachers of other renowned educational institutions of the country. They must adapt themselves with the changing situations of education of the world, let alone of the country. When they remain away from newspapers and not trying to derive benefit from them, we cannot expect that the bid teaching community will be able to change them with the newly introduced creative system. In a recent seminar in a government college I asked all the participants (from college, secondary school and madrasas) how many of them read English newspapers. To my utter surprise I found only five to six teachers read English newspapers though all of them are English teachers. All they probably believe that only English For Today or grammar books of the market are the only teaching item in the class.
The government implemented the creative method at secondary level schools of the country in 2009. But many school teachers cannot yet adapt themselves to the new situation replacing the traditional mode of teaching and taking examinations. The Planning and Development Unit of DSHE prepared the report in march this year with a finding that 30 percent school teachers are unable to prepare creative question papers for the students . The report was made after scrutinizing teachers of 4810 educational institutions out of 18404 of nine regions including Dhaka, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Chittagong and Comilla. According to the report the government has provided training in creative method to 325000 teachers in phases since 2009. The question rises whether all the teachers understood it or not was not checked. The unit also found that 1443 institutions out of 4810 cannot formulate questions in creative method. What they do to get over the quandary is they buy question papers from different teacher association for holding examinations. I have been harping on this issue for long that the teachers cannot make question papers because of their dependence on test papers , guides and notes available in the market and the authorities don’t check at all don’t that the teachers just copy the questions from these market books word for word. Even in the board examinations the questions exactly the same question are picked from the test papers and other market notes. When teachers follow this practice, their creativity sees a sloping trend. Teachers must take help from the helping books but that does not mean they will copy everything from there banishing their own creativity. The authorities supposed to take care of this thing seem to sleep. So, things are happening what they are supposed to be.
The creative system was introduced in all subject at SSC level, excluding Bengali second paper both papers in English and mathematics. A teacher of a renowned school of Dhaka city says, “Training provided by the government was not enough to understand the puzzles of creative questions. Training has helped us understand the system but still teachers need training for the sake of fruitful implementation of the system. Creative system is not a simple matter to understand easily and quickly.” It means that the authorities should not expect that all the teachers will understand the facts of creative question so easily and quickly across the country when faulty teacher recruitment and some other practical reasons stand in the way of ensuring quality education.
To introduce anything new demands need assessment, training, workshop, media outlet so that the persons concerned can be prepared for implementing it fruitfully. Traditionally it hardly takes place following the real procedures. As a result the stakeholders find it difficult to deal with it let alone using it for their own benefits.
MASUM BILLAH: Program Manager: BRAC Education Program and Vice-President: Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association (BELTA), Dhaka, Bangladesh.