Teachers involved in question paper leak

Dhaka,  Sat,  23 September 2017
Published : 04 Aug 2017, 21:05:32

Teachers involved in question paper leak

Students with low levels of learning at lower grades are most at risk for dropping out and are most likely to join the informal labour market. Low quality teaching by teachers in classrooms is to blame for this, writes Rahman Jahangir
Teachers are builders of future leaders of the nation. That was why they used to hold a position of high esteem in society. But now such respect is sadly waning. Just a few delinquents in the teaching profession have tarnished the image of the teaching community. They have earned for themselves ignominy and are responsible for making most of the students what they are today. Some teachers, as press reports said, were caught red-handed while they, as invigilators in exam halls, supplied answers to students in exchange for money. They are the same kind of teachers who make money by arranging coaching classes after school hours. By so doing, they outlive their utility as teachers in classrooms.  

The education minister's disclosure last week that he failed to stop leakage of question papers due to involvement of some 'immoral' teachers is the latest addition to the long list of complaints against the delinquent teachers. He said the authorities prepare the question papers with utmost caution and keep those under surveillance. As soon as the papers reach some of the teachers' hand the next day, they are leaked. The minister made the remarks at an award-giving ceremony of Chancellor's Gold Medal essay writing competition in Chittagong University's business faculty auditorium. 

The minister went on to make another serious allegation: some of the teachers also provide answers in the exam halls in exchange for money. "We have controlled the question leak… but due to those dishonest and immoral teachers, we are not succeeding in preventing it completely," he said. "We are continuing our efforts in this regard."

The High Court took note of the delinquent teachers being recruited politically or through illicit means, not on merit. In a verdict last year, it called upon the government to take steps for amending the provisions of a law that allows lawmakers of the localities to become chairmen of the governing bodies of private educational institutions. The directive came after the High Court declared illegal the provision of Non-government School-College Governing Body Regulation-2009 that enables the members of parliament (MPs) to head the governing bodies. The court found that several lawmakers flout government rules to become chairmen of governing bodies of private educational institutions in their constituencies. It also found that they nominate their relatives for the posts in a bid to appoint teachers of their choice. There are over 18,500 non-government secondary schools in the country and all of them are being run by their governing bodies.

The other day (Aug 2), the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arrested three teachers of Hazirhat Upakul College in Laxmipur, including its principal, from Noakhali in a graft case. The arrestees are college principal, assistant professor and lecturer (computer). On January 9, 2017, a case was filed with a Senior Judge Court in Noakhali for recruiting two college teachers violating the rules. Earlier, the principal appointed the two teachers in his college although they were not eligible for the posts and later, both of them were promoted.

Experts say, quality teaching in classrooms is the only answer to setting the entire education system on the right track. Even the UNESCO has recognised this pertinent need.  A top official of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) said Bangladesh has made significant progress in achieving some goals of 'Education for All' (EFA) but it needs to focus on the quality of education and early childhood development. Olav Seim of the EFA International Coordination Team, Unesco, said, "The country has managed to increase enrolment rate at primary level to almost 90 percent which is a big achievement." It also did well in ensuring gender parity, but it needs to focus on quality, he added.

Even the World Bank (WB) has highlighted the need for quality education. It said Bangladesh's current momentum in improving education can be harnessed for greater advances. Understanding the complexity and interrelated nature of education quality, skills development, and the labour market will aid in policy planning. The country needs to shift and strengthen focus on education relevant to the labour market and on the quality of education. A World Bank report titled "Seeding Fertile Ground: Education That Works for Bangladesh", said Bangladesh needs to focus on high-quality learning, and strong foundational cognitive and behavioral skills from early childhood. The report praised Bangladesh's success in improving access to education and completion at all levels, despite daunting challenges. Bangladesh achieved gender equity in primary and secondary education well ahead of the 2015 Millennium Development Goal.  Progress in education has paved the way for an increasing number of women to enter the labour market, bolstering the country's manufacturing production.

With more youth entering the working age population, Bangladesh is poised to benefit from a demographic dividend in the next 10 years.  To reap the benefits of demographic changes, the World Bank said Bangladesh will need policies that create higher-skilled jobs with higher wages. By improving education quality and skills development, the country can link its youth to productive employment in local or overseas job markets. Although the country has succeeded in expanding access to education, learning is currently low and unequal. Only a limited number of students remain competent in their respective grades. Students with low levels of learning at lower grades are most at risk for dropping out and are most likely to join the informal labour market.

Experts say, an important determinant of learning within the schools is the quality of the teachers. Studies show that many teachers lack adequate training and career progression opportunities. Lack of knowledge about subjects and overemphasis on note-learning than encouraging creative thinking and problem-solving skills further affect students' learning. These have to be reversed through recruitment of quality teachers strictly on merit basis. 


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