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Why is the standard of teaching in Bangladesh declining?

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From the time of Socrates in ancient Greece to the present day 2022, many professions have sprung up in the world, and many professions have been lost in the womb of time. But a profession still holds its place of honor fairly. That is the teaching profession.

Of course this respect is also relative; Different in different parts of the world. In countries like China, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia, the social status of teachers is much higher. According to a study by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a UK-based think tank, 61 percent of students in China think teachers need to be respected. And as a result of such mentality of the students, the teachers of that country are also occupying more honorable seats than any other professional. However, there are many countries in the world where teachers are not given even the slightest respect. That is why only 36 percent of students around the world have the mentality of respect for teachers .

Sad but true, Bangladesh is also one of the countries in the world where teachers do not get equal respect for their profession. That is why there is a saying in our society:

“When the father of the girl cannot find a groom for his daughter, he is helpless and tries his best to find a master (teacher) as the groom.”

Teachers in Bangladesh are deprived of due respect; Image Source: The Daily Star

In a society where the general public’s attitude towards teachers is such, it is hard to say how much respect and esteem is given to teaching today. However, in addition to respecting teachers, the issue of their quality should also be mentioned at the same time, otherwise the full picture of teaching as a profession in Bangladesh is not revealed.

A recent report by the World Bank states: There is huge educational inequality in the schools of Bangladesh. Thirty- five percent of third- graders cannot read Bengali properly. What is the main reason behind this? According to the World Bank, this is due to the low quality of the teaching profession.

So let’s find out the reasons for the low quality of teaching profession in Bangladesh. The main reason is that the most meritorious students in this country do not usually come to teaching. Especially in primary, secondary and higher secondary level teaching.

The goal of most of the meritorious students of this country is to become a BCS cadre. Education is one of the 26 cadre services in that BCS. But this education is never the first choice of the students. At the top of their list of choices are administration, foreign affairs, taxes, etc. The position of education is in the very last row. It may be mentioned that in the 40th BCS, 4 lakh 12 thousand applications were received against 1903 posts. But less than 1 percent of them applied for general education as a first choice position.

But there are many more posts in the education cadre. Even then the gifted students put it at the end. If there is no other job at all, then they choose secondary and primary school teaching. Simply put, teaching is their ‘back up’ job, not the main job. They feel that their merits in this profession are not properly evaluated. 

For that reason, the teaching profession is a temporary job for many of them. At least sixty percent of non-cadre primary school headmasters later quit their jobs. Why not? This is the position of a second class government official, again in many cases the salary is one grade below! They are forced to quit their jobs due to lack of proper social status and other facilities. Choose a profession with comparatively higher social status and economic benefits.

The salaries of assistant teachers are not very ahamari; Image Source: Kalerkantho

This is only about the head teachers of primary schools. In the case of assistant teachers at this level, the educational qualification is not the most important at all, because their salary is not very important! Male candidates must have a minimum second class from a recognized university, and female candidates must have a minimum second class in the Higher Secondary or equivalent examination. On the other hand, in the case of secondary, a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent degree) in a related subject from a recognized university or institute has to be passed, although more than one third class (class or equivalent CGPA / GPA) is not acceptable in the academic life.

Since the highest meritorious people of the country do not come to the primary and secondary level, but to be a teacher at these levels requires less educational qualification than many other professions, it also affects the meaning of their teaching.

According to a 2016 report from the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Department (IMED) of the Ministry of Planning, 80 per cent of students think that they need to read to the teacher personally in order to understand the creative question properly. In other words, more than half of the students think that what the teachers teach in the classroom is not enough. Also, according to another report by the Department of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, fifty percent of teachers cannot create creative question papers. 

At the university level, a few public-private universities are relatively good. Although political affiliation, kinship and financial dealings are considered as the main qualifications for becoming a university teacher, many meritorious students join here as teachers. But it cannot be said loudly that the tenure of teaching in the local universities of all of them is also long.

The quality of teaching in a few universities is relatively good; Image Source: Daily Sun.

Many meritorious students join the university as teachers, but later tend to go abroad for PhD or higher education and never return. Also, before becoming teachers, many of the best students who have just graduated have gone abroad for post-graduation and never returned. As a result, even those most meritorious students are no longer available as teachers in local universities.

But why do they go abroad and never return? Why is domestic talent being trafficked abroad? When it comes to finding answers to these two questions, it comes down to the issue of respect and dignity of teachers. If they are engaged in the same profession while living abroad, they will get more than the social status and economic benefits that they will get by teaching in a local university. Isn’t it a little exaggerated to expect that today they will return to the country and start teaching by simply dismissing everything else as ‘great profession’?

Thus, analyzing the general picture of teaching from primary level to university level in the context of Bangladesh, it can be seen that the most meritorious teachers in this country work in universities, followed by colleges, secondary schools and primary schools. In other words, the merit of teachers is also declining in parallel with the level. At the same time, the social status , salary and other benefits of teachers are also declining.

But what is the ideal image? For example, we can talk about Finland. The country has one of the best education systems in the world. The most talented students who have completed higher education come to the teaching profession there. And they have to take a course before they can become teachers. Those who do best in that course, get the opportunity in primary, then in secondary, finally in university. And needless to say, the status and salary of teachers are being determined in the same way.

The best teachers needed in elementary education; Image Source: History of Bangladesh

This means that the best teachers in the standard education system will be at the primary level. At the same time they will be the people with the best human qualities and moral values. Because if education is the backbone of a nation, then teachers are the makers of that backbone, and they have to start building that spine and keeping it straight from the very beginning. After the parents, the teachers become the role models or the heroes of the dreams of the tender-hearted children; It is through them that children become acquainted with the outside world, and their talents continue to evolve. The foundation of a child’s intellect and thinking is laid even at that age. Therefore, to ensure that the foundation is the strongest and strongest, it is advisable to have the most talented teachers at the initial stage

Then gradually the position of the next step teachers will be at the secondary and higher secondary level. And a university level teacher will be the most knowledgeable on a particular subject. Although it is not important for him to be in control of all the subjects like the primary level teachers, there is no problem. 

But since the picture of our country’s education system is completely different, it can also be said that our country’s education system is moving in the opposite direction!

As a result of walking in this opposite direction, in the developed world where the quality, honor and dignity of teaching as a profession is skyrocketing, everything in our country is declining. Besides, many teachers are losing their human qualities and moral values ​​as a result of lack of persecution, social stigma and professional inferiority. Instead of emphasizing the importance of classroom teaching, they are leaning towards private or coaching business.

Teachers are leaning towards coaching trade for various reasons; Image Source: Jugantor

At present, teachers are being given various trainings in an effort to enhance their professional standards and skills, but no one seems to be paying much attention to the mistakes that are being made at the very beginning of the education system. As a result, there is not the slightest hint of an immediate change in the neglected state of the teaching profession.

But it is time for all of us to turn our attention to this aspect. The issue of quality education is at number four in the United Nations Global Development Framework 2030 or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and it is clearly stated that the prerequisite for quality education is to enhance the quality of teachers. Undoubtedly, in order to increase the quality of teachers, the issue of their social dignity and economic dignity must be considered with equal importance, otherwise it will never be possible to achieve the desired goal.

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