With a view to addressing the increasing crisis of admission into the intermediate level, the government turned ten government schools into colleges and this process was started in 2007 as a huge number of students passed the SSC examination that year. Firstly, Dhanmondi Government High School, Motijheel Government Boys’ High School and Sher-e-Banglanagar Boys’ High School introduced intermediate class. Again in 2008 Khilgaon Government High School and Sher-e-Banglanagar Girls’ High School were turned into colleges reaching the number five. Another five schools have been upgraded to colleges outside Dhaka. They are Chittagong Collegiate School, Rajshahi Collegiate School, Sylhet Augragami Girls’ School, Khulna Zilla School and Barisal Zilla School. The decision in one sense was wise indeed. But its hastiness without giving subsequent thoughts and its present inertia regarding the next course of action in these institutions to offer quality education has exerted a negative impact, particularly while secondary school teachers will take class, on the studies in these newly turned colleges. 1500 students have already passed the HSC examinations from these institutions in the last two years facing some basic problems.
Usually, specialized subject-based teachers don’t teach individual subjects in the secondary level (up to grade ten) in our country except in cadet colleges, cantonment school and colleges, Rifles Public school and College, Residential Model School and College, Rajuk Uttara Model College and some institutions controlled by Corporations and Mills. Subject-based secondary school teachers are recruited in these institutions. Here English teachers teach only English, not Bengali or other subjects. Chemistry teachers teach Chemistry, Physics teachers take classes on Physics. The secondary schools both in urban and rural, government and non-government mathematics teachers teach mathematics and other science subjects. Social welfare teachers teach sociology and Bengali, Bengali teachers teach both Bengali and English. This is the usual pattern of staffing to teach the subjects prescribed at the secondary level.
This discrimination or specialized system in some secondary level institutions contributes a great deal to show a large gap of results among schools. Cadet colleges and Rajuk College and similar ones excel in result in the public examinations and in other areas of students’ performance because subject-based secondary school teachers teach in these institutions. Teachers having masters in a particular subject and with experience definitely deliver a different and developed way of class. Intermediate classes of all colleges are run by subject-based teachers. When the subject-based teachers teach in the intermediate as well in the secondary level the situation of the overall teaching environment is sure to see a change. Moreover, the course of SSC and HSC shows a big difference in terms of volume as well as standard. Teachers without having masters normally cannot give proper teaching at this level. The teachers having simple graduation working in these institutions cannot give a satisfactory way of delivery which these newly turned colleges experience. In our new education policy, the secondary level will be up to grade twelve like most of the countries and subject-based teachers may be recruited then. Till now intermediate level is considered as college and subject-based teachers are necessary for it. In most of the countries of the world secondary level is called high school up to twelve classes.
It is sad enough that no new policy has been adopted to run the newly turned ten government schools into colleges smoothly and effectively. Recruitment of new teachers of college-level has not yet received any consideration of the authorities concerned. They just changed the name of the schools into college or upgraded the classes from ten to twelve like a political declaration. Now a teacher is to conduct even eight classes a day as to run both schools and colleges which is tremendous pressure on their part. Then again, a teacher is to move from class one to twelve creating a standard vacuum. It is difficult for a teacher to match quickly with the levels. A teacher said that he had to conduct classes in class one and just after class one he has to take another class to twelve grade. Psychologically it is not sound for the learners and for the secondary school teachers as well.
So, the students admitted to these newly turned colleges don’t feel the warmth of colleges. They don’t; find the standard teaching as the secondary level teachers teach in the same way in the intermediate section as they do in schools. Students have already lost their interest to continue their studies in these institutions showing the result and standard of teaching below standard. The proof comes in the way that some of these colleges don’t get students to continue intermediate class whereas the better colleges of the country cannot accommodate the huge pressure of students. The Barisal collegiate school doesn’t get students. Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Boys’ High School has 80 seats in the commerce group but 55 students got admission here. In the science group out of 80, only 30 students got enrolled.
The institutional heads of these newly turned colleges sent proposals several times to the authorities concerned for increasing the number of teachers but no solution has yet been found. I came to find in the newspapers that the media people talked to the proper authorities such as the Secretary of the ministry and the Director-General of Secondary and Higher Education but their answers seemed to be evading the real problems. In this connection, I want to put forward some suggestions which the authorities may consider. In the last several years a good number of potential and young teachers having masters been recruited in the government secondary schools. These teachers try to leave the job as they are not satisfied with their position and designation. The position of these teachers can be upgraded by changing their designation as a lecturer. They can be transferred to these institutions as lecturers. If it is done they will work with full dedication and don’t think of leaving the job.
It does not seem reasonable to learn that the five upgraded schools of Dhaka city don’t find subject-based teachers. Many teachers are trying heart and soul to come to Dhaka and other big cities from the rural areas and moffashal towns. Due to the non-availability of the post, the authorities cannot transfer them to Dhaka. The posts lying vacant can be filled in by transferring the teachers from other areas and the activities of these institutions can be turned into a normal going.
Many master degree holder students have been unemployed in the country. They can be employed in these institutions part-time basis as lecturers. It will be a great help for the unemployed potential youths. To meet the extra amount to pay the part-time teachers can be met with tuition fees of the students. It will not incur an extra financial burden on the ministry. Only initiatives and the right decision can show a better solution these newly turned institutes are facing. The institutional heads can be assigned with dealing with this temporary recruitment avoiding the bureaucratic tangle lying in this field. When the objective is to offer quality education and narrow the admission crisis, we should be liberal enough to take decisions in this regard empowering the institutional heads.