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Dhaka Tribune

New academic year brings fresh curriculum, but challenges persist

  • Three major challenges identified 
  • Concerns raised about decline of science students
Update : 02 Jan 2024, 11:29 AM

The commencement of another academic year on the first day saw a significant transformation, marked by the introduction of a new curriculum. 

Experts, however, have identified three major challenges that persist, encompassing the need for skill-oriented class teachers aligned with the new curriculum, timely printing of textbooks, and the grouping of students into science, business studies, and humanities categories up to grade ten.

According to sources at the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), students in grades eight and nine received all their books on January 1, with the exception of history, social science, and science books, which are expected to be available from January 7. 

The delay in printing these three books is attributed to the postponed submission of manuscripts, as explained by NCTB Chairman Prof Md Farhadul Islam to Dhaka Tribune.

Under the previous academic curriculum, students were given the option to choose their groups after completing the Junior School Certificate (JSC) program. However, the revised curriculum dictates that students will now make this choice upon enrolling in grade eleven at the higher secondary level.

Under the new curriculum instructions, students are required to study ten common subjects from grades six to ten. These subjects include Bangla, English, Mathematics, Science, History and Social Sciences, Digital Technology, Life and Livelihood, Health Safety, Religious Studies, and Art and Culture.

Furthermore, the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Exams will now be based solely on the grade ten syllabus, a departure from the previous practice of including grades nine and ten. 

Despite debates and opinions throughout the year, the Ministry of Education remains steadfast in its commitment to implementing a life-oriented education curriculum.

In the pursuit of substantial improvements in the education sector, the government initiated the implementation of a new curriculum last year, focusing on grades one, six, and seven. 

Despite challenges and obstacles, the Ministry of Education continues the introduction of the new curriculum by distributing textbooks for grades two, three, eight, and nine in the current academic year.

In December, Deputy Minister for Education Barrister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel addressed the ongoing challenges in the education sector. He announced the government's commitment to addressing various issues under the ambitious mega-education project slated for launch in 2024.

The strategic plan for the new curriculum outlines its gradual expansion, with implementation scheduled for grades four, five, and ten in 2025, followed by grades eleven in 2026 and twelve in 2027.

Science curriculum debates

Concerns have been raised by educationists about a potential decline in the number of science students at the higher secondary level with the full implementation of the new curriculum. 

They contend that the previous curriculum's provision of a separate scope of studies of physics, chemistry, biology, and higher mathematics in grades nine and ten had long sparked an interest in science among students at the higher secondary level. 

However, with the current curriculum, students are set to study ten common subjects, leading to a projected further decrease in the number of science students.

In response to these concerns, Professor Md Moshiuzzaman, a member of the National Curriculum Development and Revision Core Committee, refuted the argument. 

He explained to Dhaka Tribune: “The curriculum was designed to afford students more time and interest in acquiring a foundational understanding of science, allowing them to make informed decisions about their academic paths after studying the ten subjects comprehensively.”

Despite these assurances, some educationists have suggested the addition of one or two basic science subjects at the secondary level. 

However, Professor M Tarique Ahsan, a member of the National Curriculum Committee, dismissed this proposal, asserting that it would impose unnecessary pressure on students.

Advocates for the new curriculum argue that its methodology will instill a scientific perspective and enhance analytical capacity among students. 

They believe that once the curriculum is implemented effectively, a significant number of students will opt for the science group.

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