Email views deserve study: Academics

September 30, 2009

Last date for opinions on education policy today
With the last date for the government invitation urging opinions from the general public — academics, guardians and students in particular, on the proposed Education Policy posted on website ending today, interested observers have come up with their views.
As a number of the academics told this correspondent yesterday, an impediment to the implementation of the Education Policy would be created unless the suggestions given through email were not taken into consideration.  
According to some others, controversy looms large over the feasibility of the proposed education policy as they fear that at the end of the day this might not be implemented due to “lack of physical and human resources”.
Many educationists felt that the implementation of the proposed education policy would be a difficult task. 
Former Dhaka University vice-chancellor professor Moniruzzaman Mia said it would not be a wise decision to extend the primary education level to Class Eight from Class Five as getting the budget for implementation would a big challenge
“A huge amount of money is needed to implement the proposed education policy. On the other hand, the government will also have to spend of money for requirement of fresh teachers and providing training to the existing teachers,” he told reporters.
Dr Ainun Nishat said the draft education policy doesn’t specify any strategy to that end.
Talking to The Independent, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said to implement the education policy in a proper way, the ministry will start working in phases.
“The primary level would be extended to Class-6 by 2012, Class-7 by 2015 and up to Class-8 by 2018,” he added.
According to education ministry sources, some Taka 68,000 crore will be needed to implement the draft National Education Policy 2009. On the other hand, the government will have to spend Taka 30,909 crore to develop the infrastructure of at least 80,000 primary schools as these schools will have to be upgraded to Class VIII from current Class V.
Asked how the acute scarcity of teachers would be filled up at the primary-level schools to ensure quality teaching up to Class Eight, the minister said on the basis of merit the graduate people would be recruited. 
The deadline to give comments by educationists, experts, guardians, students and all stakeholders on the long-cherished final draft of the National Education Policy 2009 over email to the Education Ministry, will expire today (Wednesday).
Earlier on September 2, the 18-member national education policy formulation committee headed by National Professor Kabir Chowdhury, handed the final draft of the National Education Policy 2009 to education minister Nurul Islam Nahid at the ministry. Later the draft has been posted on website (minister@moedu.gov.bd/info@moedu.gov.bd) in order to receive comments from the educationists, guardians, students and all stakeholders on the education policy.
Nurul Islam Nahid said his ministry has been receiving comments over email and fax on ‘the National Education Policy 2009 and the deadline will expire Wednesday, September 30.
Replying to a query whether the date of sending comments over email will be extended, Nurul Islam Nahid said the issue about ‘extension of the deadline’ is yet to be discussed.
He said requests are being made from various quarters to extend the deadline.
“If it is needed, the ministry will consider the issue,” the minister said.
“These comments and recommendations will be widely discussed at the cabinet meeting. It will take time to examine, check and cross-check the views to complete the whole process. Later, the highest authorities of the government will approve the National Education Policy 2009,” the education minister said.
He said as part of modernising the primary education, the primary and mass education ministry is preparing to arrange public examination this year.
“The process of implementation of the National Education Policy 200 will start within this year and implementation activities will start from next year. The students of class five will end their five-year primary education through participating in a public examination from this current year,” Nurul Islam Nahid said.
He said the new primary school-ending public examination will replace the annual and primary scholarship examinations of Class Five.
“The results of the examinees of Class Five will be published simultaneously throughout the country,” he said adding the objectives of the committee would be to keep in view the success in the overhaul education from primary to higher levels. 
He further said since independence till date some eight education policies had been formulated, but none was implemented due to change of governments and shift in their policies.
He said the ruling Awami League will be able to come out of this culture and it is expected that the policy would be implemented during its tenure.
Talking to this reporter Dr Quazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Co-chairman of the committee, said money wouldn’t be a matter for implementing the education policy if the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate remains at 6 per cent.
“I think we would not have to face fund crisis if the government sanctions 4.50 per cent of the budget for the education sector. And the government should do it in order implement the education policy.
He also suggested the government to extend the time for receiving comments on email on the education policy.
“As both the Muslim and Hindu communities were busy for Eid and Puja festivals, many of them failed to make comments on the national education policy. So we hope that government would extend the deadline for sending comments,” he said.       
The policy document is furnished with separate chapters on primary, secondary and higher education, technical education as well as madrasa education.   
“We have recommended phase-by-phase extension of primary level education, which is compulsory up to Class 8,” Kholiquzzaman said.
He said primary level would be extended up to Class 6 by 2012, Class 7 by 2015 and up to Class 8 by 2018.
“Identical curriculum and syllabus have been recommended for all existing primary education systems,” he added
While talking to The Independent education secretary Syed Ataur Rahman said many recommendations, suggestions and opinions have already been made by the educationists, guardians and experts over email.
“On the basis of the people’s request, if it is needed, the ministry will consider to extend the deadline which expires tomorrow (Wednesday),” he said   
The policy prescribes granting promotion to non-government teachers based on seniority and efficiency, by cancelling the existing proportional system.
Since the independence of Bangladesh, successive governments have formed the following panels: Qudrat-e-Khuda Education Commission 1972, Mofiz Uddin Education Commission 1988, Shamsul Haque Education Committee 1997, Dr MA Bari Commission 2002, Mohammad Moniruzzaman Mia Commission 2003, and the National Education Policy Formulation Committee 2009.

Courtesy of The Independent

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