Developing Education Sector: Reforms and Implementations

 

Bangladesh's commitment to education has been clearly stated in its Constitution and development plans with education being given the highest priority in the public sector investments.

Article 17 of the Constitution clearly spells out that- The State shall adopt effective measures for the purpose of-

  1. Establishing a uniform, mass-oriented and universal system of education and extending free and compulsory education to all children to such stage as may be determined by law;
  2. Relating education to the needs of society and producing properly trained and motivated citizens to serve those needs;
  3. Removing illiteracy within such time as may be determined by law.

The National Education Policy 2010 has been prepared in tune with this article of the Constitution and various national and international conventions.

Formulating National Education Policy

The National Education Policy was formulated after consultation with various educational experts and stakeholders, which edu03is currently being implemented in phases. The Policy envisages education which helps build a poverty free, secular, progressive and democratic society in the long term. It envisages developing children into educated, productive and skilled workforce as well as instill in them national cultures, traditions and moral values. The NEP gives utmost significance to pre-primary education. All 5 year old children are being brought under this scheme, with the plans to extend the plan to include 4 year olds too. The NEP advises the government to start pre primary education in all schools. The NEP asks for more teachers to be recruited and increasing the number of classrooms. These are to be implemented in phases. It also emphasizes on the study of arts and literature.

National Education Policy 2010 the Prime Features Education Policy (2010)

Education Policy (2010) also visualizes promoting access to quality education for all. The present government is working to bring about qualitative changes in the education sector.

Some of the implementations of new education policy are given below:

edu01Objectives of ICT in Education Master Plan (2012-2021)

ICT in Education master Plan
Now, in the age of “late-modernity”, the economies of the world are diverging and fluid. Businesses now see no definite boundaries to setting up; rather they prefer wherever they think their interests will be best served. Thus, like other developing countries Bangladesh sits at the forefront of the new economic paradigm. As we know that the present government envisages turning our country into a middle income country (MIC) by 2021.
But it would only become a reality if we could keep the momentum of growth up. To maintain the rate of development, the country has to go parallel with the intensity and scale of global competition. This increasing competition is placing huge demands on the education system of the country to develop a prepared and skilled workforce that can meet the ever-changing human resource requirements global economy is creating. It is unanimously regarded that an “info-techno” oriented pedagogy design and planned digitization process could be the determinants of making a country’s manpower skilled, self reliant and prepared to meet the demands of globalization.
Realizing the present nature of global world order the present Govt. of Bangladesh has recently undertaken a program named ICT in Education Master Plan (2012-2021) to facilitate the Education Policy 2010. In addition to that, to make the country a digitized the Govt. has also endorsed The National ICT Policy 2012. It is expected that the proper implementation of the policies would minimize the digital divide, ensure participation for all and generate a skilled work force for future. This master plan along with ICT Policy 2012 will facilitate in the comprehensive use of the ICT in education and employment generation. This policy framework expected to create the following opportunities.

Primary Education at a Glance

Infrastructural Development
Developing educational infrastructure is crucial for ensuring congenial learning environment, incentivizing children to enroll and prevent dropouts. To that end, the current government has adopted a number of steps for building and/or maintaining key infrastructure related to the education sector, namely:

  1. Rebuilding, and providing furniture to, 3.447 public primary schools under Government Primary Schools Rebuilding and Reform (2nd Phase) Project;edu02
  2. Rebuilding 213 registered private primary schools and extending 1,292 registered private primary schools under Registered Private Primary Schools Development Project at a cost of over TK 10 billion;
  3. Rebuilding 258 schools damaged or destroyed by floods of 2007 and river erosion at a cost of TK 580 million;
  4. Under Primary Education Development Project 2: Building 40,870 additional classrooms; building 398 primary schools cum cyclone shelters; constructing 23,202 toilets; digging and setting up 17,275 deep tube wells; repairing 7,103 primary schools;
  5. extending operations of Primary School Offices in 58 districts; Building/extending education offices in 456 Upazilas; building 397 Upazila Resource Centers; extending 53 PTI and NEP buildings; building 10 hostels in Chittagong hill tracts. e) Project has been undertaken to rebuild 2000 schools;
  6. In order to extend opportunities for education, project has been undertaken to construct 1500 schools in those areas which do not currently have any schools. Till date, locations have been identified and building work commenced in 700 primary schools;
  7. In order to train able and skilled teachers, 12 PTIs have been set up in 12 districts which lacked such facilities previously;
  8. In order to ensure education of indigenous people, 10 schools have been built with hostel facilities in remote mountainous areas;
  9. Under Primary Education Development Programme 3: Building 31,685 classrooms to reduce the teacher: student ratio from 1:56 to 1:40; Rebuilding 2,709 schools, buildings of which were classified as risky; building 1,28,955 toilets; setting up 39,300 tube wells for ensuring supply of fresh drinking water; 
  10. building 53,250 toilets for female students and teachers and 21,955 toilets and 53,750 urinals for male students and teachers; repairing 11,600 classrooms; repairing divisional, district and Upazila primary education office and resource centers; building 14 URC buildings; building a leadership training center in Cox’s Bazar; and building a new building for Directorate of Primary Education’s Head Office. 

Distribution of Free Textbooks
After assuming power, the current government has been distributing free textbooks to all students from Class 1 to Class 9 from 2009-10 sessions in order to create opportunity of education for all notwithstanding their economic conditions and to prevent the number of drop outs. From 2010 to 2013, nearly 130 million students have distributed with 9.2 million textbooks. Free textbooks are distributed every year to 100% enrolled students in primary schools around the country. From 2013, utmost care is being taken to ensure that these textbooks are received by the students before the commencement of each school year. In the beginning of the 2014 academic year, more than 23.3 million primary school goers received 115.9 million textbooks. In order to make sure that students are attracted by the books, they have been published in four coloured versions as opposed to previous black and white versions only.

Incentives for Teachers
Immediately after assuming responsibility, the current government brought 1624 private schools under the provisions of Monthly Payment Order (MPO). This has resulted in financial security for many faculty and staff members of these private institutions which in turn benefited large number of students. Additionally, faculty and staff members of all private educational institutions have been allotted with TK 300 medical allowance, TK 500 house rent allowance and for government approved faith schools (Madrassas), the previously allotted TK 50 allowance has been raised to TK 100.

Abolishing Corporal Punishment

Corporal punishment by teachers on students has been a longstanding aspect of educational culture in this part of the world. However, in order to ensure that students can study in an intimidation free education-congenial environment, a policy has been formulated by the Ministry of Education to outlaw corporal punishment of any kind administered by faculty and staff members upon students. It is hoped that this will encourage to students to study and attend schools without fear of intimidation, prevent drop outs and contribute towards building a skilled workforce.

 

Making Dynamic Websites

National Curriculum and Textbooks Board (NCTB)’s website has been made more dynamic. All primary and secondary textbooks can be downloaded in their e-book formats from this platform.

Delivering Lessons through Broadcast

In order to improve the quality of education in all schools of the country, and as part of a holistic teaching approach, since 14th June 2011, educational lessons on English, Mathematics and Science of the best performing public schools are being broadcast in the national television channel, Bangladesh Television (BTV). Currently, the frequency of the broadcast is three mornings a week for one hour.

 

Sources:
Official Website of Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh
Official Website of Primary and Mass Education, Government of Bangladesh
Official Website of ICT division, Government of Bangladesh
UNDP Bangladesh
http://www.campebd.org/Files/03062014031056pmEducation_Watch_Report_2013_Full_English.pdf http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/upload/Bangladesh/Bangladesh%20NPA%20EFA.pdf Achievements of 5 Years in Primary Education (2009-2013), Ministry of Primary and Mass Education.

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