The context of this study is Bangladesh. It is a developing country with a large population of 140.23 million. It has one of the largest education systems in the world. Most of the people live in rural areas. There are 18,756 private secondary schools all over the country. Secondary students range from Year Six to Year Ten (age 11 to 15). In Bangladesh the Ministry of Education is responsible for the overall management of the secondary education. The Ministry of Education has offices at the district level to implement its policies and the agenda of the government.
After completing five years of compulsory primary education (set by the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh) students go to secondary school. At this level of study students learn various subjects such as language, mathematics, science, social science, geography, arts and religion. The National Curriculum and Text Book Board (NCTB) formulates curriculum and publishes text books for secondary school students. After completing Year Ten students go to higher secondary school. There are some schools which have a higher secondary section.
Bangladeshi secondary students sit two public examinations, namely Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC). These examinations, which are administered by the country’s central Ministry of Education, are very significant for students, parents and teachers. When enrolling at college and university, student merit is evaluated on the basis of these results. The reputation of secondary schools is also largely based on the results of these examinations. Therefore the head teachers want the best possible results for their students in these two examinations.
Bangladeshi private secondary schools are locally managed by a School Managing Committee. This committee consists of thirteen members.
Formation structure of the SMC
Chairman x1 (Selected by the other members)
Teacher representative x2
Female teacher representative x1 (Reserved for the female teachers)
Parents’ representative x4
Female parents’ representative x1 (Reserved for the female)
Founder member x1
Donor member x1
Patron of learning x1 (Person interested in education)
Member Secretary (Ex-officio) x1 (Head teacher)
Gaining access to head teachers
Before approaching the participants (in schools) I gained permission from the District Education Officer (DEO). I worked in the district level and sub-district level (Upazilla) to collect my data. In Upazilla level (part of a district), there are officers called Upazilla Secondary Education Officer (USEO) who are responsible for taking care of secondary schools at Upazilla level. I took written permission from the officers to interview the school head teacher (see appendix D). In Bangladesh, researchers are respected by teachers as well as by the community. I was therefore welcomed into the schools and was able to quickly build a rapport with the head teachers.
SHEIKH MOHAMMAD ALI: Assistant Professor in Education, Govt. Teachers’ Training College, Rangpur, Bangladesh.