There is an admitted difference between desire and ability. The lacuna becomes wider for the poor than the rich. However, this is not always true in all cases. In some cases one’s will force is sufficient to fulfill his expectations. Bangladesh is a developing country. No wonder our education system is likely to suffer from economic crises. But it is very hard to accept when the education system suffers a lot from consequences that are not the outcome of economic crises. It is a matter of great regret that the standard of our education is degrading day by day due to lack of attention, initiatives and their implementation. Though the government is most likely conscious about the development of the educational system of the country, yet the harvest is totally disappointing. What may be the likely reasons of this bad harvest? In similes, there may be faults in land or the preparation of the land; seed or the process of sowing seed; and weather.
A sudden change in an education system cannot bring advancement of learning all time. For example, during the period of Ershad’s government a great change in the system of SSC examination has jeopardized the standard of education. We cannot say the new system is totally bad. Rather it is efficacious when the system compels the students to study more to pass the examination. But in the case the system was a matter of serendipity. Because it was a great privilege for students since the “Textbook Board” vouchsafed to students a “Question Bank” contained five hundred multiple choice questions (MCQ’s) with their answers of each subject. Moreover, pass mark has remained same that is to say if anyone got a total of 33 marks in 100, he would get a pass. As a result, the students did not need to study hard to do well in the examination. By knowing the fact, it can be said that the change has been implemented without giving attention to all likely deficiencies of the new system that may be exploited by the students. Another example may be set here, almost each and every year textbooks of different classes are changed aiming to increase the standard of education without keeping it in mind whether the present school teachers have sufficient expertise to teach the students. Consequently some people take the opportunity to write guide-books and thus they are strangling the advancement of learning.
The standard of our education has also tarnished by some vicious practices. For example, adopting unfair means in examination. Though the bad habit of copying in the examination has burgeoned alarmingly the concerned authority has yet to take any pragmatic step to stop this vicious practice. Of course the evil seems like a vicious circle of student, teacher, guardian and the authority. And we are already delayed to cut the Gordian knot. Besides, sick student politics has hampered the congenial atmosphere of education in our educational institutions. In the context, nothing but the politicians’ goodwill could restore the academic atmosphere in college and universities. With great sorrow I have to say that we are very close to the debacle of our education system. At this stage at least we should try to salvage the standard of our education from the wreckage. I think it will not be difficult if we can solve the problems that are not caused by the lack of money.
Our education system puts very little emphasis on analysis, observation and creativity. It always encourages memorization. For example ‘Essay writing in the examination. In the question paper teachers usually set a few selected topics that have been set by them by turns. So the students do not find it difficult to memorize the topics from an essay book. It is a wonder that the students who secure places in the merit list of the examination also do not write the essay in their own words even if it has been often mentioned in the particular question. So the students’ creative faculty is never being practiced. What do we need to write an essay on a topic? We need nothing but knowledge about the subject matter and a good understanding of grammar. Of course we need to memorize words with their meanings to enrich our vocabulary. I think memorizations of words with their meanings will not produce boredom if one keeps an etymological dictionary with him. Yet teachers can help students learn the principles of grammar and increase vocabulary. They should set new topics in examination that were not encountered before. Thus the students will be able to analyze, synthesize and evaluate them.
In our country, students are generally evaluated on the basis of the result of the final examination. Class attendance, level of participation in discussion and periodical quizzes have no or very little contribution to the final result. For example, students of different medical colleges though attend classes regularly, participate in periodical quizzes and attend the wards, yet their activities do not contribute to the final result. Instead they have to sit for three professional examinations in five-year course memorizing voluminous books. Moreover, most part of the examination is viva orientated and the teachers do not follow a strongly defined oral examination ethic. For medical students an oral examination sometimes becomes an examination of fate. It is ironic when a good student fails getting into the labyrinthine complexities of oral examination. I think it is completely ridiculous to evaluate the students by this worthless method these days. The medical administration only needs to revamp the system’s traditional format to make the course interesting and competitive.
In the developed countries, it is not the teacher rather the students who have the greatest responsibility for their own learning and generating a spirit of acquiring knowledge. Students have to work hard outside the class to solve the given problems in the class. On the contrary in our country parents seem very serious about the education of their offspring. Well-to-do families engage private tutors and spend a lot of money for their offspring. These tutors help the students in each step of their learning including doing home works, preparing the assignment and so on and thus they are destroying the faculty of creativity of children. Of course the tutors have nothing to do because very few students feel responsibility for their own learning.
In our education system plagiarism is a peccadillo. It does not matter if one writes paper by taking material from other’s writing and passes it under his own name. It is ironic that the students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) cannot do without hand note. No doubt that they are the talent students of Bangladesh. In USA, the greatest offence in the academic system is plagiarism and cheating. If anyone commits this crime, he has to get severe punishment and in most cases the student gets expulsion from the university. Anyway we all know about the unpleasant consequences of punishing a BUET student for impersonation in Class Test. The authority was upright and full of probity in taking the decision of punishment. But the teachers did not react to the crime with characteristic sangfroid. In the context, teachers only needed to be retrospective and display savoir-faire to prevent the university from the contretemps that was caused by the unruly students.
In our country, the academic atmosphere is not informal and teacher-student relationship is not friendly or co-operative. Students do not feel free to communicate with teachers and change their views on a topic. It is likely that a congenial relationship between students and teachers may help the students achieve intellectual development and students find inspiration from their teachers to perform their duties. In the context of developing the relationship needless to say courtesy costs nothing. No doubt that we have many highly qualified teachers with great academic and intellectual attainments in colleges and universities. But the question is about the degree of their devotion and sincerity to their profession and there is doubt about it. In the developed world there is a system in existence for evaluating teachers by the students. Students ask questions in class, minutely observe the way teachers deliver Lectures and fill out an evaluation form at the end of semester to be considered by the authority concerned. In our country this is not practiced because it might be insulting to the teachers. At least – we should try to realize the difference between learning and teaching. To make lessons enjoyable and interesting teachers somehow need to be artistic. We need to establish many teacher’s training colleges to prepare the teachers for a change that has to be implemented in our education system successfully.
It is likely that Qudrat-i-Khuda’s ideas of education will be introduced in our country very soon. Before that I think government should first of all try to remove the factors that will hamper the pragmatic approach of implementing his ideas of education. It is not a mammoth task to maintain the standard of education. It requires nothing but the shift of our attitude.