Subject-based Teacher in Secondary Schools

The subject-based teacher received employment in colleges. Image source:
The subject-based teacher received employment in colleges. Image source:
Masum Billah
Written by Masum Billah

Secondary level education is the second important tier of education which experiences some anomalies and negligence from the authorities concerned for a long. Many changes call for monetary involvement whereas many don’t need money but can bring some positive changes in this sector. The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education has recently sent a proposal to the Ministry of Education aiming at minimizing some anomalies including subject-based teacher who deserve appreciation. The ministry also entertains this idea. Let us see how quickly it takes place.

It is known to us that in this level subject-based teacher is not employed and a teacher of one subject teaches several other subjects inviting some problems and hampering the actual teaching-learning situation. It is a common practice that Bengali teachers conduct classes of mathematics or science or agricultural science which hampers sound teaching system. If classes can be distributed among the teachers subject -wise learners would be greatly benefited and the administration will also see a smooth running of the schools.

Most teachers of secondary schools prefer to live in urban areas to rural ones. As there is no subject-based teacher they can easily get transferred to urban areas depriving the students of rural areas or upazlias. As a result urban schools see many teachers whereas rural government schools find a scarcity of teachers. Moreover, the teachers of important subjects are not available. Many teachers remain engaged in teaching English, mathematics, and science subjects as private tuition is available in these subjects. So, a kind of greasing and lobbing also takes place as many teachers of other subjects take classes managing the authorities for boosting up their tuition business.

After a long time and actually, for the first time a proposal to divide teachers subject-wise in the government secondary schools was sent to the Ministry of Education by the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education. The proposal says there will be 25 teachers in each government secondary school. In Bengali, there will be four, English four, mathematics three, social science three, Islamiat two, Physical Science two, Biological Science two, Business Education one, Geography one, Agricultural Science one, Arts and crafts one, Physical Education one. Teachers of this level welcome this decision. If this can be implemented, a uniform number of teachers can be employed in rural and urban schools.

The anomalies and problems show through this picture. Dhanmondi Government Laboratory School sees teachers mostly in mathematics and arts and crafts. But Physics, Chemistry, and Biological Science teachers show very poor numbers. Sreemongol Government Boys’ High School sees no Social Science teacher. Teachers of other subjects teach these subjects. In Dhaka Government Science College Annex secondary school witnesses 13 teachers in social science though only two positions are available against these teachers. This situation prevails in all 317 government schools. In Dhaka city, there are 24 government high schools and in each school, there is a minimum of ten extra teachers. Whereas the schools outside Dhaka sees the crisis of teachers and teaching important subjects, teachers are not available. Time has come to review the whole situation of this level do the needful. Another big factor remains unaddressed and untreated. We should not forget that there are about twenty thousand secondary schools in Bangladesh. Out of them, only 317 are run by the government, the rest accommodates the lion’s share of our secondary levels students. The worse situation lies here in terms of subject base teachers. But no such step or plan has been heard from the authorities. They think only the government schools. Can we afford to do this discrimination?

This decision should have been taken a minimum of 15 years back. It has become overdue. It should happen in this age of specialization. At the secondary level, the subject-based teacher was not employed. There might be several reasons behind it. The teachers of earlier times, might not know the modern way of teaching, had solid knowledge as notes and guidebooks were not available then. What they learned was genuine. They had to obtain their grade by utilizing their own brain. One of my cadet college colleagues told me about the father of a cadet who obtained third class in his Masters but wrote very good English and spoke  English nicely. He just asked me how it was possible. My answer was they did not read Ramji Lal or Tilak. They managed their grade/classes by reading the original text. These kinds of teachers could teach any subject as they had to go deep into each subject. They had to critically analyze any subject. Finally, they were dedicated teachers. Their dedication cannot be compared with the teachers of this age.

Today’s graduates need not delve deep into the subject. They obtain high grades with superficial knowledge. Critical analysis and giving their own comments stand absent in the examination system. Just putting tick marks or writing true or false questions, they bring very good grades. They need not write a creative composition. Even if they have to write, they need not utilize their own thinking. Notes and guide books have occupied that placemaking our students’ thinking power crippled. So, it is the time to teach subjects by the graduates of Masters degree holders who have particular subject knowledge. Cadet college, cantonment college, industrial colleges, collegiate schools find subject-based teachers and the students of these institutions get the opportunity to learn some extraordinary things from these teachers.

The students of other institutions get deprived of receiving this benefit. The subject-based teacher was not also available then. The subject-based teacher received employment in colleges (higher secondary and graduation). But now many Master’s Degree holders come to secondary level teaching. So, the previous rules should be changed and in the greater interest of education, secondary level teaching must see subject-based teachers.

About the author

Masum Billah

Masum Billah

Masum Billah works as an Education Expert in the BRAC Education Program, BRAC, and President of the English Teachers' Association of Bangladesh (ETAB), Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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