• Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019
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Secondary education in Bangladesh: Over 50% of secondary teachers can’t prepare question papers

  • Published at 07:40 pm October 14th, 2019
smart school
A teacher gives lecture to her student at a class room in Chuadanga UNB

More than one-third of the teachers use guidebooks to teach in classrooms, according to a CAMPE study

Over 56% of the teachers at the secondary school level in Bangladesh cannot prepare question papers for exams on their own, a report by the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) has revealed. 

Instead, these teachers rely on purchasing prepared question papers from associations or the open market, or get their colleagues to prepare the questions for them, the report further says. 

The CAMPE report, titled “Education Watch 2018-19,” was released on Sunday. The report’s theme is “Secondary school teachers in Bangladesh in the light of SDG 4.” 

The UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goal 4 is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.  

According to the CAMPE report, at least three out of every 10 teachers in Bangladesh are members of some kind of regional teachers’ association.

Of the teachers who outsource question papers for school exams, at least 36.8% buy the questions from these associations, the report says. 

Meanwhile, 14.4% of the teachers acquire question papers from the open market, and 10.3% have their colleagues formulate question papers for them.

Only 43.7% of teachers claimed that they prepare their own question papers.

The survey also found one-way lecture as the main method of teaching in the country’s classrooms, irrespective of subject and topic.

It found that teachers generally start their lecture on the day's topic without linking it to the previous lessons or any introductory note. 

No motivational or inspirational words are used in lessons on national heritage or important personalities, the study further reveals.

CAMPE conducted the survey on 3,000 teachers from 600 educational institutions. The study included document analysis, sample survey, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions. 

At present, there are 358,907 teachers against 12,197,554 students in 29,330 secondary level educational institutions – general, vocational and madrasas – across Bangladesh, the report says.

The common practices of using guidebooks, tutoring

Although the government provides free textbooks for all, and teaching and learning should primarily take place in classrooms, the CAMPE Education Watch 2018-19 report says some secondary teachers have taken to using unauthorised guidebooks to teach in classrooms, while some are involved in tutoring.

Around 37.1% of the teachers surveyed by CAMPE said they use guidebooks.

According to the report, teachers use guidebooks for English and mathematics in all secondary classes [Classes 6-10], physics, chemistry and higher mathematics in Classes 9-10, and Arabic throughout the school years in the madrasas.

In all years of secondary education, 39% of English teachers, 33% mathematics teachers, 23% science teachers, 21.5% Bangla teachers, and 17.1% Bangladesh and global studies teachers use unauthorised guidebooks.

Meanwhile, at least 22.4% teachers said they provide supplementary tutoring outside their classes, with 23.3 students on average.

According to CAMPE, in the secondary institutions, there are 46 students on average against a permanent teacher – and 39 against a teacher if both permanent and temporarily recruited teachers are counted. 

But the National Education Policy 2010 sets the ideal teacher-student ratio at 1:30, which the government aimed to achieve by 2018. 

The CAMPE survey found that, in general, secondary school teachers do not have a clear idea about important national and international documents, including the National Education Policy and the SDGs, which have direct implications on the country’s educational development. 

41% institutions missing multimedia classrooms, ICT labs

The government introduced multimedia classrooms as a part of its vision of building a digital Bangladesh, but over 41% of secondary institutions in the country neither have a multimedia classroom, nor an ICT lab, according to the report.

About 31.3% institutions do have multimedia classrooms, but no ICT labs, while 5.2% institutions have ICT labs, but no multimedia classrooms.

Nearly two-fifths of the teachers surveyed said they used multimedia at least once in 2018.  

The CAMPE report found that multimedia classrooms were used the least in religious subjects, higher mathematics, history, and arts & crafts, and in madrasas.

Among teachers who use multimedia, two-thirds stated the many difficulties in using such technology in the classroom, including power failure, lack of adequate training, classrooms, equipment, skills, and defective equipment and materials.

What the experts say

CAMPE, as a whole, recommends a favourable student-teacher ratio in every institution, increasing teacher training capacity, the introduction of annual teacher assessment based on their classroom performance, and prioritizing expansion of technology use in education to improve the education in secondary level  institutions in Bangladesh.

It also recommends a quick expansion of ICT labs and multimedia classrooms, and providing high speed internet accessibility covering all educational institutions with trained teachers.

When contacted, Deputy Education Minister Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury said there are two parties in the guidebook business – sellers and users.

“The parents will have to break out of the dependency on private tutoring or use of guidebooks to help improve the situation,” he said.

Mohibul said a section of teachers provide private tutoring because of how the topics are explained in the textbooks.

“The textbooks have to be more student-friendly. The government will look into the matter,” he added.

CAMPE findings on secondary education

●    36.8% teachers buy question papers from associations, 14.4% from open market

●    37.1% teachers use guidebooks to teach in classrooms

●    Guidebooks are used for English and mathematics in all secondary classes

●    22.4% teachers engage in private tutoring

●    One-way lecture main method of teaching in classrooms

●    41% of institutions have no multimedia classrooms, ICT labs