Many divides in our education system

Rassiq Aziz Kabir writes, the main purpose of education is gaining knowledge as well as implementing it in real life situations, but our system is not helping the cause. 


Bangladesh has one of the most complex education systems in the world. The country’s conventional education system is divided into three levels — primary, secondary and tertiary. It is seemingly different from the education system of most of the countries in the world. The secondary education level can be further differentiated into lower and higher secondary education. Usually, school education in Bangladesh is made up of the primary and lower secondary levels, whereas the higher secondary level is functioning in the college level. This structure is the remnant of the imperial British policy which is heavily outdated and is in need of rigorous reformation.

The education levels should be re-classified and also made compatible with the modern world. The pre-modern system of college education needs to be abolished and the schooling should be extended up to the 12th grade in order to increase the effectiveness of education. It is also needed to mitigate the sufferings of choosing suitable colleges and the level of shock that the teenaged students have to face after entering colleges. Apart from this, the student- teacher ratio in Bangladesh has crossed the international standard by a large margin. In Bangladesh, there are 53 students for every teacher whereas the internationally accepted standard is 30 students for every teacher. That is why it becomes very difficult for teachers to pay attention to every student according to their needs.

The school and college level education of Bangladesh lack trained faculties as well as interactive environment in classrooms. The first phenomenon is vividly observed especially in the rural areas; however, it is prevalent throughout the country. Teaching in primary and secondary levels is still a low-paid job in Bangladesh and the teachers are not given the proper honor they deserve considering the socio-economic context of Bangladesh. The education budget in Bangladesh is quite low compared to most of the countries in the world and a large portion of the budget is spent in other sectors, leaving little or no room for investing in quality education. So, the budgetary allocations need to be increased a lot to make the education system more vigorous and effective.

Inclusive and interactive environment is absent in the classrooms due to the existing relationship between students and teachers of Bangladesh. At the moment, the primary basis of teacher student relationship is fear, not respect. In most educational institutes, the students are discouraged to ask questions, the teachers give away a vibe where they are the know-it-all superiors and their word is the last word. This results in the one-sidedness of classroom education and is never really effective considering the international standards. The students who often ask questions become subjected to various types of harassment and abuse by the teachers, including both physical and mental. This further makes the students prone to be silent in the classrooms.

Creating credible and inclusive classroom environment is one of the utmost needs of the present time. Myriads of education system run parallelly in the country starting from Bangla medium, English version and medium, madrasa etc. These parallel education systems need to be replaced with a common one; otherwise mental segregation will be established from the very beginning of the educational life of the students, which is a very alarming condition for a developing country. Our education system is unable to create skilled and proficient individuals who would reshape our economy and alleviate poverty. If students are given proper scope and opportunities, they will emerge as the nation’s pioneers.

This education system kills the dreams and aspirations of the students at a very early age. The three subject-wise divisions that the national curriculum offers for secondary level students are — humanities, science and commerce. Students have to choose one of these three categories to pursue their further studies. As a result, a student interested in higher mathematics and economics at the same time are faced with a choice that fails to serve his/her diverse interests. The potential of the students are usually nipped in the bud. Besides, students are generally forced by guardians or teachers to take up a subject that they think is suitable for the student and the opinions of the students are almost always ignored. This is one of the major drawbacks of the prevalent education system of Bangladesh.

The schools and colleges are very much monotonous for the students since a very conventional methodology of teaching is still in practice. The government did introduce creative questions in exam pattern about a decade ago in the lower secondary, secondary and higher secondary levels, but they are far from being effective in the cognitive development of the students. The so called creative questions are literally orthodox questions in disguise and the students have become more and more dependent on guide books and notes rather than their prescribed textbooks after the introduction of creative questions.

The government should take necessary steps to eradicate the dependence of the students on guidebooks. In doing so, the question pattern has to be shuffled thoroughly. The creative questions should really be ‘creative’ which may make the students to use their knowledge and rationale to come up with answers. In addition to cutting back students’ dependence on notes and guidebooks in future, a new education system will help student to become critically aware and cultivate a new generation of our future leaders.

The main purpose of education is gaining knowledge as well as implementing it in real life situations, but our system is very much exam oriented. Establishment of a practical knowledge based curriculum will play a pivotal role in transforming our education system.


Rassiq Aziz Kabir is a student of Notre Dame College


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