I asked some questions to the members of education policy formulation committee back in 2009 about the status of English Medium Schools (EMSs) in the education of Bangladesh. They replied then they are coming up with some policy framework which will be able to bring English Medium Schools under some quality assurance mechanism. However, the Education policy document 2010 has not provided any chapter or even any section for the English medium schools, apart from one single sentence under primary education section stating that ‘All such institutions including the kindergartens, English medium schools and all types of Madrashahs will have to register themselves with concerned authorities in compliance with set rules.’ Yet, the important question here is, who are the concerned authorities for English medium schools in Bangladesh? What are the set rules for them? Why Government is always silent about them?
Providing uniform basic education to all children in Bangladesh is a constitutional provision. Do we know, to what extent learning experiences are same between EMSs and mainstream Bangla medium schools? One of the aims and objectives of education has been asserted at the Education policy document (2010) ‘to promote the continuity of national history, tradition and culture through an intergenerational process’. How much contents of the EMSs curriculum are dedicated to achieve this particular aims and objectives?
These are some of the questions that might be possible to answer. But are these enough to understand EMSs in Bangladesh, certainly not. Yet unfortunately, there has been absolutely no or very little literature available in this area. We know almost nothing about their schooling experience. Other wider issues related to them are also worth to explore i.e. how school is bridging them with the wider society, how they are integrating with the mainstream Bangla medium students etc. Now the million-dollar question comes in, who should explore this? Well, it’s everyone who wants to do something good for education sector in Bangladesh. I think we can’t really avoid EMSs for the reason of their affluences or for this kind of stereotype concepts that have been held in our society for long. Now this is the time to know more about them and hopefully put some more thoughts on them.
Writer: PhD Researcher at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.