Having the change in the development of many sectors in Bangladesh, it is exquisitely denotable for primary education, where near about 100% children are within the school campus which was a great challenge before two decades. Now the parents in a slum or most remote area in the hills are committed to involving their children in the schooling system. Family investment for education is also another indicator that reveals the concentration and attitude of the families to achieve education for their children. It is now very high in comparison to any era as before. The change of this socio-economical potential provokes Bangladesh to face challenges of achieving quality in primary education. Without having the quantitative achievement, quality was not so much yelling notion. Now, it is the focus to get the quality, but how?
Teacher motivation: the factors
Why and how a person can be motivated? As per Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there are five needs of human. At the base of the pyramid, it is physiological, that is lifesaving, and at pick of the pyramid it is self-actualisation. As per the theory, the lower four levels of needs are deficiency needs, and the top one needs where motivation increases. Without having the theoretical discussion, we can say, many factors provoke a person to be motivated with his or her profession which may be- financial gain, social honour, power practice, growth of position etc. People in society always try to have these elements and face challenges to make sure the growth. In any sector, we can get lot of examples of this process. Being a social constituent, are the teachers out of this process? The answer is `No’. The teachers also try to achieve these things and try to ensure his or her growth professionally and socially. However, does the system run in harmony with this fact? We should explore the answer and try to innovate.
When one teacher observes that there is no promotion or demotion based on performance and achievement, he or she must be demotivated that impacts on the accomplishment.
The practice: how the factors are being materialized
A headteacher in Khagrachori district, who is also a leader of the teachers’ association is near about to finish his journey as a teacher. At the end part of the teaching profession, he is very much committed and satisfied with his profession and glad to reach this level. He says, `I am drawing 40,300 taka as salary which is a dream to me, and I am very much enlightened that I will serve this nation for more three years.’ He is thankful to the government as the government took the initiative to increase the salary to this level. However, what changes have been happened through the enthusiasm created within this headteacher? Has he made the changes in teaching-learning process, what he did through his long way of teaching profession? Again, the answer is `No’. The government is trying to modernise the primary education system with digital techniques and providing electronic equipment to the primary schools. However, is it enough to equip the schools with facilities and does the facilities ensure the use of the equipment by the said headteacher having his enthusiasm and commitment? The practical situation in primary schools does not reveal out the definite answer.
Now, think about another scenario for another headteacher. Ms Malabika (take name) obtained MSc in Botany from Dhaka University, and she joined as a headteacher in a primary school before near about 20 years, and still she is performing as a headteacher. The teaching-learning process of Ms Malabika and potential as a headteacher is far better than the headteacher previously said and materialising the expected change with modern equipment and techniques is possible by Ms Malabika. However, she is not enthusiastic with her present position as she is performing with this position through 20 years back.
When one teacher observes that there is no promotion or demotion based on performance and achievement, he or she must be demotivated that impacts on the accomplishment. Here, the question is what the performance assessment system for the teachers is? What is the system of getting the promotion or demotion? Is there any accreditation system of doing excellent work or having a punishment of not doing up to the mark? We have to explore the answer.
Praise and punishment both should be in practice based on honest assessment, and only then a teacher would be enthusiastic about doing hard work and achieving something special.
How to increase the motivation of the teachers: exploration of ideas
Everyone looks for accreditation of his or her performance, accomplishment and excellence. This demand is natural and meaning-worthy, and fulfilment of the demand makes a man more enthusiastic about exploring his or her potential within himself or herself. How can this accreditation be done? If we have a look on the factors to increase motivation of the teachers, we can find that financial return might be the primary demand for most of the teachers, but it is not the only factor to raise the level of motivation. The accreditation of performance might be promotion, salary increase, prize, and certification and honour and so on. However, does the present system accommodate all these? There might have some positive examples, but the practice is not so frequent. What is the situation of present appraisal system? This is very much traditional and full of bureaucracy. The system should be decentralised. The appraisal must be based on classroom performance and should be started by the institution heads. In addition to that there might have some recognition of monitoring by the community and school management authority. At the same time, the departmental appraisal and accreditation system should be redesigned avoiding all sorts of bureaucracy. The system should be transparent, open and crystal clear to all stakeholders. Praise and punishment both should be in practice based on honest assessment, and only then a teacher would be enthusiastic about doing hard work and achieving something special.
Ratan Kumar Sarkar: Program Specialist, BRAC Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University