By Abdullah Mamun
Education is the backbone of the nation. Nepolion Bonapart says that, “give me an educated mother I shall offer you an educated nation”. This statement clearly defines the necessity of constructive education system to build up a developed nation. Education determines the norms, values, attitudes and overall behavior of a nation. It can lead a nation to the peak of the development.
The educational scenario in Bangladesh is at stake. Both the guardians and the students have almost lost their confidence on the ongoing education system. Teaching and learning has these days become business commodity. The growing coaching centers like mushroom are seemed as the market place where the students are offered the education just as a commodity. Students are not minimally taught the basics of knowledge rather they are stuffed with suggestions and probable questions. This prevailing scenario of education will ultimately lead to perish the quality at the source.
Examination is the system of measuring level and status of how much learning is consumed by the knowledge seekers and to filter the quality students from the disqualified ones. If there is any malpractice to evaluate the knowledge of students then it is absolutely discouraging for the meritorious and quality students. As a result the efficacy of the education and its examining system will go in vain. Students passing through the leaked question, drop out at the threshold of the university level, definitely increase the quantity of educated persons and destroy the quality of education in an alarming rate. The government of Bangladesh has an agendum of ensuring ‘Education for All’ by 2021 which is one of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals). If there is any ill motivating will to show the progress in the achievement of this goal by following such a disgusting way, it will be a nation-wounding policy by the big guns.
According to a report published in Daily Naya Diganta, PSC exam was introduced in 2010. The incidents of question leakage begin in 2012. All question papers of PSC exam’13 were in the hands of students and guardians. The JSC (Junior School Certificate) exam was commenced in 2011. All question papers of JSC exam’13 have been leaked where the English 2nd paper was printed in all print media! In last two years the SSC and HSC exams are also being held with the leaked question papers. In this regard, it was repeatedly verbalized that the leaked question is nothing but just the shortest suggestion by the expert teachers. What a silly comment on a serious issue by the education bosses! Some responsible persons constantly arguing that (from the government side), the allegation of question leakage is the planned conspiracy of the ill motivated intellectuals and media to spoil the government image.
After the post mortem of the incidents it is very sensible that, it is not possible for individuals or groups to come by question papers in advance unless they have links within the education establishments. BG-press, the most concerning institution in this regard, with other important bodies should be transparently operated. The incumbent officers in such bodies should have high level morality, absolute religious value, patriotism and highest ethical standard to keep all the matters confidential. But secular education system is the barrier in this basic area.
Recently, the leakage of question papers has assumed an endemic scale in Bangladesh. Such incidents have occurred in several times in different public examinations involving even the PSC (Primary Terminal Examination) which is the ground for building one’s educational mind. The matter is highly concerning for the nation. One of the reasons why such incidents have been occurring frequently is the failure to take stringent actions against the perpetrators. More than one committee was formed for this purpose in several times. The committee found that 80% of the questions leaked are exactly similar to the question papers provided in the examination hall. The disappointing matter is that, there has been severe reluctance to address the epidemic in the light of the recommendations of the committees, at least of those that had been able to make some headway in the investigation. In some cases, the ill motivated committees did not expose report to the public orientation.
TIB’s Report on Private University:
Though all of the limitations, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) is still a trustworthy institution for identifying and explaining any fact within its area. Recently, it came out with a significant report on prevailing irregularities in private universities in Bangladesh which drew the attention of almost all outstanding people in the country. It is not very surprising why the two most important persons, one the minister of education and another the UGC chairman called the TIB’s recent report on pervasive graft in the private universities as ‘baseless’, ‘fabricated’ and ‘untrue’. But when responsible persons fail to acknowledge first that there is a problem, we can hardly expect any change in the scenario. But the fact of the matter is many of the private universities are indeed performing very poorly hardly imparting quality higher education. It is not only the TIB’s report, many a times media reports often brought to notice the unholy practice of selling certificates in exchange for money by such underperforming universities : credible allegations are there that the students do not have to attend classes in them and appear in the exams. In some cases only appearance in the exam is considered enough, not answering the question papers adequately. On the other hand, the qualification and competence of many teachers in these highest seats of education are also questionable.
While most of the universities have up until now failed to fulfill the criteria to be recognized as truly centers of higher learning, there is also no denying the fact that, for some owners, these educational institutions have become a matter of ‘commerce’. We have also noticed advertisements in the media that offered different tangible goods on taking admission in them.
All these point out that gross irregularities exist in issuing license to establish private universities in most cases. When it is said that successive governments gave permission for founding universities on political consideration or for dispensing favor to party loyalists, this claim also has to be taken seriously. But higher education is a very important thing and while giving licenses for a private university utmost caution has to be there so that they do not go to wrong hands. It must be ensured they go to real educationists who know the purpose of education and have strong commitments to integrity and discharge of well earned services to society.
Therefore, instead of rejecting the recent TIB report, the ministry of education, preferably together with the UGC, can investigate the existing scenario prevailing in these universities and take strong actions against the guilty ones particularly those who are making illegal transactions and are yet to fulfill the criterion to be recognized as really higher centers of education in all respects. If a system runs properly, quality automatically becomes its prominent feature. Therefore, strong monitoring of the deficient private universities is basic to raising the overall standard of education in the country.
Admission trade is one of the heinous deeds which occurring in the educational institutions to make the education commercialized by a group of perpetrators. In Bangladesh, its history is very bad. From the past, in almost all educational institutions the student bodies are unexpectedly involved with such misdeed where they are supposed to struggle for ensuring quality education with all other demands of the students. Measuring on these criteria, the reality is very harsh for Bangladesh. Bangladesh Chattra League (BCL), a badly-known student body to all, the student wing of the ruling Awami League (AL) is standing on the opposite pole of the normalcy. If it is asked that, what is the current performance of BCL? The answer will not require any deep thinking because the act of extortion, tendering, terrorizing and eve-teasing are always reflecting upon their body and mind.
Very recently, once again they became the headline of the media following the condemnable issue of admission trade in almost all government colleges in the country. According to a report brought out in Daily Naya Diganta, “none have scope to get admitted at intermediate level in any government colleges without prior permission and recommendation of BCL”. About 5 to 50 thousand taka have been charged forcibly on each admission willing students in terms of colleges and its location. Wherever the college authorities tend to deny their unethical, illegal and outrageous claim, there BCL leaders suspended the admission process, assaulted on the teachers, vandalized their lounges indiscriminately committed injurious attack on the demonstrating students. In Narayanganj Govt. Girls’ College, the BCL leaders made the students admitted from the outside of the merit and waiting list while they are sitting in the principal’s room. In Kabi Nazrul Sarkari College, the BCL leaders from the neighboring Jagannath University provided a list of their favorable students to the college principle overruling the students of absolute merit and waiting list.
There are 217 government colleges in the whole country and in all of them BCL established their absolute supremacy removing other minded student bodies by weapon and muscular strength. The principles and vice-principles in those campuses are also appointed on the basis of political consideration. Though in some cases the BCL leaders controlling the whole admission process by using their muscular power, in most of the cases such condemnable job is done by BCL with keeping liaison with college administration.
While inaugurating the online admission process in 2009, the education leader announced with pride that, from now there is no chance to make undesired interference in one’s admission process.
Every year such malpractice surpasses the records of previous year but the authority for education is seemed dormant despite of being alive. Whatever happens to the education minister and grand authority, if this scenario is continuing it will ultimately lead to the meritless, disqualified, and ineffective and a back warded nation in the age of modern civilization. What can be more regretting than it for us as a nation? n