The above headlines on July 22 appeared in all the national dailies definitely caught the attention of all who are concerned with education. Heads of top city schools and colleges on July 21 demanded the government in a meeting at the secretariat to take action to stop private tuition and coaching, holding these responsible for manifold unethical practices in educational institutions. They opined private coaching can take place only for the weak learners in the institutions, not in coaching centres or teachers’ houses. Agreeing with their demand, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid noted that the practice of coaching cannot be stopped immediately. It is possible only when the teachers complete the lessons in classrooms.
Let us see some comments of the heads of institutions of the city. ‘It is imperative for the government to enact a law to stop private coaching” said Khaleda Habib, principal of Udayan School and College. Manju Ara Begum, Principal of Viqarunnessa Noon School said,” it would truly be good if the coaching centres could be stopped as these initiate various irregularities.” “I hate private tuition and coaching centers. Special classes should be taken for weaker students. Teachers involved with coaching centers can never teach well inside the classroom.”—-Benjamin Costa, Principal, Notre Dame College said. During the meeting with the education minister the principals and headmasters of more the 12 renowned educational institutions described private tuition as an ‘unethical’ practice by teachers that leads to corruption. The minister acknowledged the fact but said it is not possible to stop private tuition overnight. “I regret the present situation in schools and colleges across the country. Action will be taken against the guilty teachers. It is unfortunate that a number of perverted people have managed to find their way into some schools and colleges in the guise of teachers.”-. Nahid said. He recommended the authorities to conduct an annual evaluation of teachers and urged the teachers to gradually end their involvement with private coaching.
Government may hesitate to stop coaching as a great number of teachers will go against the government inviting shrinking their vote bank in the coming elections. Actually the number of guardians far outnumbers the teachers engaged in private teaching. Moreover, when teachers will see their income has not shrunk drastically rather they earn through creative and honest work, they will also appreciate the idea ultimately. How it can be ensured, teachers must be paid for invigilating the examination halls, checking scripts, preparing questions etc. Now they are not paid for doing these academic works. So, they don’t do it sincerely and professionally. When the whole nation demand to stop private coaching, government must take some bold steps even though it goes against a particular group of people. We cannot afford to continue it at the cost of huge national loss in terms of time, money and stability of the society.
The BNP-led four party alliance governments did a very commendable job by completely stopping copying in the examination, which engulfed the whole nation throwing the assessment system in the shamble. It was a revolutionary step indeed. The conscious educationists gave up the hope of curing the malady in the midst of so much politicization of education. However, finally it became a success. The present government also has taken some laudable steps in the field of education by distributing books free of cost and forming an education commission to present a reasonable education policy to the nation. The government can earn much credit by removing the social malady in the name of ‘private coaching’ along with these two epoch-making steps in the greater interest of the nation.
Brilliant teachers should have the scope to earn more in honest ways. Scopes should be made for them so that they can be creative enough and practice professional development. Otherwise, brilliant students will not come to teaching profession. If it happens it will be a serious loss for the nation because low qualified and non-creative teachers can hardly give anything to the nation rather they do irreparable losses to the students. Private coaching has turned the teachers even the creative ones stereotyped ones. They have lost their creative faculty because of the lack of practice. They remain busy with the touch and pass system and earn name, fame and make fortune by virtue of this system. No touch of creativity is available there which is of utmost importance for a teacher who shoulders the responsibility to build the future leaders of the country. It is sad enough that the teachers have forgotten to make questions papers. They just copy the questions from the guidebooks, test papers or the books available in the markets. This happens only because of private tuition. They just deal with a particular portion of a subject which is fully exam oriented, not practical or knowledge based.
Many teachers argue that because of private coaching the results have got improved. Actually it’s a false notion. Students and guardians have become dependent on the system and more so, they have become bound to follow the system developed in the educational arena. The students and guardians have to spend a huge amount of time on the way, in the coaching centers and teachers’ house. Pupils hardly get any time to study by themselves with undisturbed attention at which is of great importance in each learner’s life. They cannot give concentration on their studies. Moreover, guardians face huge financial constraint as a lion’s share of their income goes to the purpose of private coaching. Students need peaceful time and mind to give concentration on studies at home to remain physically and psychologically sound. This tradition has started to lose totally. As a student has to move around almost five or six teachers a day posing to be a mad rush and mad game which we cannot afford to see any more.
The whole nation will be benefited if ban on private coaching can be successfully implemented. Only a few private practicing teachers may have some little financial loss for the time being. The guardians always remain in tension as I see my wife continuously remain busy with my daughter taking her to different teachers’ houses. It is a common picture in almost all the school and college going students’ houses. Guardians along with the pupils are getting psychologically ill. Every family of this kind faces financial constraint only for this cause otherwise they could manage the families well enough. Visiting various teachers’ house also contributes to a great deal of traffic jam. Considering all these sides, time is ripe enough to take the decision to put a stop to private coaching. Institutional teaching must be established at any cost. There is no alternative to it. Now the presence of students in the class registers very thin, whereas they crowd in the teachers’ houses or in the coaching centres. This bad tradition must be annihilated once and for all.
Writer: Program Manager: BRAC Education Program and Vice-President: Bangladesh English Language Teachers’ Association ( BELTA), Dhaka, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected]