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The tip of the iceberg

  • Published at 06:35 pm May 7th, 2018
  • Last updated at 02:49 am May 8th, 2018
The tip of the iceberg

Despite widespread question paper leaks, only 77.77% of SSC candidates passed this year -- a drop from last year.

This means two things: Firstly, that grade inflation has been reduced, a practice by which teachers were encouraged to give more marks to the students to artificially increase the pass rate.

Secondly, that the leaked question papers were not so effective in being distributed, perhaps in part due to efforts taken by the government. These are good signs.

Nevertheless, the pass rate is only a small part of the overall education scenario, which remains in crisis -- the quality of education cannot be judged by grades alone.

There is no doubt that Bangladesh has made great progress in increasing the literacy rate in the past decades, which stood at around 20% at the time of our independence, and now stands at over 70%.

But as we steadily march towards middle income status, we cannot look merely at literacy statistics, and have to look at the bigger picture of the educational needs of the 21st century.

As it stands, graduates from the public education system leave school with little real world knowledge and few useful skills, having been taught through rote learning, which leaves their critical faculties underdeveloped.

The government recently introduced several technical colleges which might aid in this process, but when it comes to academic learning, our students fall far behind world standards.

A nation’s success is built on the back of its education system -- a mere Tk30,000 crore budget and lacklustre management are no longer going to cut it in a competitive future.

The government must reform our education sector, so that future graduates have what it takes to succeed in a competitive global economy.