MD. MASUM BILLAH
The news of introducing unitrack curriculum has emerged as a hotly debated topic in our educational arena. It awaits to appear in the next year. Secondary education sector is going to see a drastic change from next year with this new curriculum. After the successful drive of removing adopting unfair means in the examination this is another courageous move towards changing the education of the present government. The word change invariably invites criticism, protest and shrinking nose in our country. Whereas change is the law of nature. We must keep up to date of the modern methods of education. The world has changed a lot. Another thing is that any kind of change gets the colour of politics in our country. We should look into the matter impartially and in the greater interest of the nation.. Replacing the multitrack education, government is going to introduce unitrack education. Now let us see how much practical and viable it would be. Why this change and how it should be implemented.
In order to create a setting for the introduction of single track curriculum the authorities concerned consulted the curriculum of nine countries of the Far East and five Western countries’ curriculum. A sub-committee was formed consisting of eight members proposed to introduce this single-track curriculum.The committee discovered the fact that the curriculum introduced in 1996 was pregnant with information, which failed to rouse the interest of the learners. The practical aspects of life did not receive due importance. Little importance was imposed on values education and to develop the mental faculties of the students. Again, it tended to reflect traditional and conventional ideas without clear explanation. Optional subjects saw less importance as obtaining grade gives a negative indication. The NCTB has observed classroom situation and interviewed and taken opinion from 1400 learners, a considerable number of teachers, guardians, education administrators and members of Chamber of Commerce. It conducted this survey in ten areas of the country. Through these activities the following points evinced.
This proposed curriculum encourages inquiry based learning. Through questions and inquiries students will find out the information and understand the main themes and ideas of a particular topic. It also encourages experimental learning which entails students prior experience, its analysis and making a bridge between the prior and present experience. Learning through group discussion and cooperation are also included in this curriculum.
Learning through investigation where students will follow the stages of identifying problems, taking planning, collecting and preserving information, analysis of those information, draw conclusion on the basis of obtained information and preparing document.
This curriculum hints to innovate some other new ideas such as inviting guest speakers. The professionally successful individuals will be invited to classes to explain their practical experiences before the learners so that they can get encouragement from them to go forward in life. Only bookish knowledge doesn’t give them ample idea about the practical situation of life. It will remove the monotony of the learners as well. Meeting the same teacher everyday necessarily creates some boring situation whatever creative the teacher is.
Students will learn through role play and four corner debate. Students will debate on a topic dividing into four groups and occupy their place in Four Corners of the classroom. Then they will present their points. Case study and co and extra curricular activities would be given due importance. Students will not be confined to books only. Rather they will participate in different debates, clubs and seminars. It is a must for every student to attend this kind of activity at least once a year.
School based assessment is the initiative of the present government. Only ninety schools and madrasas witnessed the affairs of SBA. Twenty one thousand schools and nine thousand madrasas still remain in the dark about the way of implementing it. When the newspapers released the news of the introduction of School Based Assessment I produced an article to request the authorities concerned to widely circulate the matter among the teachers, students and guardians as it is a national issue. It must not be done without the knowledge of the people concerned . However, the introduction of unita curriculum has started getting some media coverage. The authorities have started campaigning across the country in the form of meeting, seminars and workshops. To speak the truth, the SBA has not yet got this kind of coverage. Necessarily its main message still remains beyond the knowledge of the teachers ,students and guardians.
Before any kind of drastic change it must be circulated widely throughout the country. The government particularly the department concerned hardly gives importance to this fact. The authority seems to be negligent in this affair in most of the cases causes irreparable losses to the people concerned. The government has put forward some arguments in favour of introducing Unita Curriculum after thirty eight years of its closure.
The first argument gets much preference as it claims that the young students cannot identify and choose the group of their own. They are influenced by the teachers and guardians to choose their groups. They will have to choose the groups in the higher secondary level as they will have some maturity at that stage.
Another argument means much convincing that up to a certain class students must have knowledge on some common subjects to have perfection.To develop a uniform outlook among the students is another objective of single-track curriculum.
National wealth would be utilized properly in unitrack curriculum as the same kind of labour, effort and money is spent for minor subjects which are taken by a very few number of students in the multitrack education system.
The existing education system mainly encourages memorization of the students. It hardly develops their creative and innovative faculty. The planners want to say that they are going to produce such kind of system where students will have enough scope to exercise their brain and intelligence. It will have enough room to make the students creative.
They want to focus six skills of the students. These are-thinking power, problem solving skill, personality skill, communication skill, and socialization and cooperative skills. The present curriculum hardly address these issues properly.
Some intellectuals and educationists have raised questions about introducing Religious Education for one hundred marks. They have raised the questions whether it is really necessary. Here I have some points to mention. Religious education is related to moral education. Nobody can deny the fact that not only Bangladesh but also the whole world has been suffering from the spiritual crisis and moral degradation. The educated sections even the highly educated people don’t hesitate to grasp national wealth at the cost of common people’s suffering and national loss. Corruption has pervaded every machinery of the government. Social crimes see their rising trend/ all these are happening due to moral degradation. Many countries of the world teach their young students moral education which makes them much more patriotic. In our country also it is greatly felt to morally develop our future generation. In this respect the introduction of religious education gains ground.
Science students don’t gather any knowledge about social science. Though social science attaches much importance to our social and family life, we remain awry from having any institutional knowledge about this subject. With the increasing development of society, social problems are appearing in new forms with which the future generations must have acquaintance and they should know how to deal with these problems. In this regard all students need to gather some knowledge of social science. The coming curriculum tends to develop this idea among the students.
Having some geographical idea and the knowledge of economics create some practical sense among the students. Science students remain devoid of these elements. They become doctors. Doctors’ first treatment should be very much humanly. Now the doctors of our society don’t know how to behave with the patients. They just bother about money. They absolutely need moral education. The students of arts and commerce should have some clear idea about different important and common matters of science. Living in the age of science they cannot keep them away from the light and ideas of science. Unitrack curriculum promises to address these issues and offer a uniform education to the learners.
Author: Senior Programme Manager, PACE, BRAC Education Programme, BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh.