Government to abolish existing streams - science, commerce and arts - from secondary education
The government is planning to restructure and revamp the secondary education, from the pre-primary level to Secondary School Certificate (SSC), their curricula and textbooks, to modernize the existing education system.
The plan calls for eliminating the three existing streams of the country's secondary education level - science, arts and commerce - so that students can study and learn the same subjects (a blend of the three streams) progressively till Higher Secondary Education (HSC), and then students would choose their study concentration.
As part of the plan, the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) has identified 10 areas of learning which include, language and communication, mathematics and logic, science and technology, information and communication technology, society and world citizenship, life and livelihood, environment and climate, values and ethics, physical-mental health and wellness, and arts and culture.
Textbooks for grade one, two, and six will be revamped within 2021 and the books of the other grades (up to SSC) will be reformed within 2023-2024.
However, the exact year (academic session) when the new and reformed system will be introduced is yet to be fixed.
Scholars and educationists have expressed their concerns about implementation of the plan but also welcomed the move as it will allow students to have knowledge about all the subjects.
NCTB Chairman Narayan Chandra Saha told Dhaka Tribune that they have prepared a proposal and are working on the government's plan to restructure the country's secondary level education.
He said: "A student is typically 13 to 14 years old when he or she graduates from eighth grade. Yet these students lack a lot of general knowledge. That is why we are planning to restructure the system. At present there are 15 to 16 subjects at the SSC level. We will reduce that number to 10. We are analyzing international examples, holding workshops and conducting meetings with experts to gain a better understanding of the total picture to better implement the plan."
On January 27, Education Minister Dipu Moni told parliament that the government is considering getting rid of the three different streams - science, arts and commerce - of SSC level education.
"All students [SSC level] will get the opportunity to choose groups of education from HSC after strengthening their knowledge base by studying the same subjects progressively up to grade 10," she said.
The education minister said efforts are being made to modernize the existing secondary level education curriculum.
Scholars welcome the move but advise caution
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, academic Syed Manzoorul Islam, said: "The government has to have irrefutable rationales to support their plan of action. They also have to clearly lay out the benefits of this change. It is imperative that we understand whether this will be beneficial or not in the future. If this discourages merit, then it will not be of any good. There is no scope for experimentation now on textbooks and curriculums.
"As for abolishing the groups in SSC level education, it is a good move because teachers and parents often force their own choices on the student. It is better if students get to choose their respective streams of education from the HSC level."
Echoing the same, Dr Md Kamal Uddin, professor of the department of psychology of Dhaka University, said: "All exams before SSC should be cancelled because it creates undue stress for students. I suggest that the authorities get the project assessed by psychologists to understand its ramifications for the affected body of people."
"Finland, a country considered to have one of the best education systems in the world, has no standardized school exams until high school (our HSC equivalent). The more diverse the early education of a student is, the more developed their cognition by the time they come of age," he added, welcoming the government initiative.