There are few things more self-evident and indisputable than the assertion that our education system needs an overhaul.
Thus, it is no surprise that panelists at Bangla Tribune’s latest boithoki unanimously agreed upon the urgency of education reform.
Quick fixes here and there just will not cut it anymore. Accountability throughout the entire system and all of its various channels is a must.
The frequency of question paper leaks has reached a point where experts are calling it an epidemic -- at the boithoki on this very subject, a panel consisting of prominent experts recommended specific changes to curb cheating and leaks.
Educationist Salimullah Khan suggested replacing the multiple choice question (MCQ) format with one that encourages critical thinking instead of memorisation.
As for the source of the leaks, the Anti-Corruption Commission found that the Bangladesh Government Press, education board officials, and government institutions are directly responsible -- a fact that may be hard to swallow but is, nonetheless, true and requires our immediate attention.
Another insidious practice is the coaching business; when primary school students feel the need to attend coaching centres on top of regular schooling, it points to something extremely wrong with our public schools.
Despite receiving a large salary increment about two years back, public school teachers continue to do a sub-standard job at school so they can make extra money teaching at coaching centres.
The solution should not be to demonise or vilify all teachers, just like students should not be blamed for all the cheating that goes on; instead, the government should reform the education system in such a way that learning is rewarding to students and teaching is rewarding to teachers.