Retention of highly educated teachers challenging
Staff Correspondent: Smart citizens are first needed to build a smart Bangladesh. The country’s primary schools will act as the center of this citizen building. The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education is working towards this goal. But there are many debates and criticisms about the extent to which primary education is useful in creating smart citizens.
There are about 80,000 SSC and HSC pass teachers who are currently teaching primary students. They did not pursue higher education except for some basic courses. These teachers are in extreme confusion in teaching the new curriculum. In the last few years, the rate of highly educated teachers is increasing. However, the facilities that they get are not enough to keep them in this profession.
According to the Directorate of Primary Education, in the 1991 rules, women candidates could become primary teachers only if they passed SSC and men passed HSC. Those who have been appointed at that time, are now in big danger. It will take another 14 years for SSC and HSC pass teachers to retire normally. After that, primary schools will get 100 percent graduate degree teachers.
According to the latest data of the Directorate, there are currently 65,544 government primary schools in the country. There are more than 388,000 working teachers. Among them, there are 253,623 female teachers and 135,215 male teachers.
Data analysis shows that there are 155,742 masters degree holders among the working teachers. 22,295 people with Bachelor (Honours) degree. And the graduates (pass course) are 106,398 people, 5,550 with MBA degree, 1,481 with BSc Engineering, 5,749 with Kamil pass. On the other hand, 2,031 people with Fazil degree, 379 people with BSc in Agriculture, 9,223 people with BSS degree. Besides, there are more than 6,500 highly educated teachers with LLB, LL degree holders.
There are about 80,000 SSC and HSC pass teachers appointed under the 1991 rules. Among them 55,744 people passed HSC, 12,666 people passed SSC. And there are 1,417 Dakhil and Alim pass teachers from Madrasas. Later they did not take higher education except some training courses under departmental i.e. directorate.
No official of the Directorate of Primary Education agreed to comment on the SSC and HSC pass teachers. According to them, their jobs were done according to the rules of that time. It is not legal to talk about their incompetence or incompetence now. They may feel insulted by this. Now they have nothing to do but wait for their normal retirement.
How to enter higher degree holders
By passing SSC and HSC, one could become a primary teacher ‘very easily’. If there is a second category for qualification, it would have worked. There was such a provision in the rules of 1991. As a result, highly educated people did not want to enter this profession. But after two consecutive pay structures in government jobs, that scenario changed. Competition in the job market is also increasing. Highly educated people began to apply to become teachers in large numbers.
Understanding the situation, the government brought changes in the application eligibility for primary teacher recruitment. The rules were changed in 2013. It mentions graduation or equivalent degree for male candidates but it is different for females. In case of female candidates, HSC pass was allowed.
As per the latest 2019 policy – both male and female candidates are required to have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree with CGP with second class or equivalent from a recognized university. As a result, in the last few recruitment circulars, those who have been appointed as primary assistant teachers, all of them have the minimum qualification of graduation.
When asked, Manish Chakma, director of the policy and operation department of the Directorate of Primary Education, told Jago News, ‘Teachers educated in modern education are essential for the implementation of the new curriculum. Everything is changing fast, you need to have a mindset to keep pace with it. That is why we are now welcoming highly educated people to primary. It is through their hands that primary education means positive change.
100pc graduates to meet after 14 years
Most of the primary teachers now have higher degrees. Implementation of new curriculum through them will be relatively easy. However, the implementation of this curriculum is challenging with 80,000 SSC-HSC pass teachers. The primary education administration is waiting for their normal retirement.
The Department of Primary Education says that SSC and HSC pass teachers are at the end of their service life. After four years this number will decrease. About 22 thousand teachers will retire in the next four years. And the rest will take another 14 years to retire. As a result, we have to wait for more than a century to get 100 percent graduate degree teachers.
In this context, the director general of the Directorate of Primary Education, Shah Rezwan Hayat told, “Except for the graduates, there are very few teachers now. Those who are, are working to improve their skills by interacting with others. We also organize training. They are also learning by hand. But it is true that if you get 100 percent higher degree holders, it will be easier to implement the work with them.
Challenge of retaining highly educated teachers
Even if the highly educated people get jobs initially, they keep their eye on other government jobs.They continue to strive till they reach the age of government service.Many leave their jobs early and move elsewhere.Behind this is lack of financial benefits and promotion.80 percent of elementary teaching assistants retire from the same position.The salary or facilities that they get after passing the masters is very different from other teachers. University teachers are promoted to professor in 11 years after joining ninth grade.College teachers are promoted upto professor subject to vacancy after joining ninth grade.Secondary teachers are promoted upto Deputy Principal after joining 10th grade.But most of the primary teachers with the same qualifications are retiring as ‘Assistant Teachers’. According to research, 37,574 candidates were finally selected through written and oral examination in December 2022.However, 2,557 people did not join despite getting jobs.Among them, 1,902 did not join the primary teaching post after submitting the documents.Most of them have moved to other government jobs. Raihan Ahmed joined a government primary school in Narsingdi Sadar Upazila after being selected in the last recruitment.He said, ‘I joined here because I had a passion for teaching.Whatever the salary, I wanted to be this too, I will work in education administration.Now I see – 10 years ago this can’t even be applied for.But in case of other government jobs, departmental candidates are given promotion opportunity after two years.’’ His 45th BCS written exam is ahead.He also said that if there is something good there, maybe he will not teach in the primary. 10th grade wants teachers with higher degree Those who join the post of Assistant Teacher in Government Primary School, are paid starting from 13th grade.Basic salary is Tk 11 thousand.It includes house rent, medical allowance, tiffin allowance and traveling allowance.Apart from the basic salary, a new assistant teacher will get medical allowance of Tk 1500, tiffin allowance Tk 200 and traveling allowance Tk 300.Rent is 60 to 45 percent of basic salary. For a long time, primary teachers have been agitating to get 10th grade.However, no assurance was given by the government.Elementary teachers tenth grade implementation committee coordinator Mu.Mahbubur Rahman told, “If the government had accepted our demand, the highly educated people would have remained in the primary.”After the job here, they did not run after a new job. Farid Ahmed, secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, said, “Highly educated and smart teachers are definitely needed to build a modern and science-minded nation in primary schools.We are working to select that teacher by appointing them on the basis of merit and transparency. Teachers with higher degrees are leaving due to salary disparity and lack of promotion-when the matter was raised, the secretary said, ‘I have always said that primary schools will create smart citizens to build a smart Bangladesh.The government will do everything to implement it.We will work on their salary structure and promotion in the future.
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