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Education - September 12, 2023

Exam-free education era begins in Bangladesh

Quality of education to be perished

Mahfuz Emran: Students will read, memorize and take tests. Evaluation is based on what is written in the answer sheet. This is the long-standing image of the country’s education system. But with the new curriculum it is changing completely. Students will now act first, understand, then learn. Teachers will evaluate their activities. There will be no test. However, the parents are extremely angry with the absence of this test. No parent can trust in ’exam-free’ education. Even the teachers are ’confused’ about it. There is no relief for them.
This year, the studies in the first, sixth and seventh classes are going on in the new curriculum. Parents of students of these classes say that their children are going to school. Nothing is reading or writing. No homework, no private-tutoring. They think that what students are learning in school, what they are doing at home is not ’learning’. Because of this, the parents are also demanding the cancellation of the new curriculum. If necessary, they are united by opening a group on Facebook to take part in the movement or legal fight.
Teachers are not relieved either. The teachers who are teaching in the new curriculum complain that the curriculum and textbooks of this curriculum are completely different. According to the curriculum – there is no opportunity to give homework to the students. The tasks given to the students are completed in the school. No need to go home to study or do homework. But the parents are coming and complaining about it to the teachers every day. Parents often argue with teachers about why children are not studying at home, why homework is not being given.
However, the officials of the Inter-Education Board Coordination Committee, Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (MAUSI) and National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) are reluctant to accept the complaints of parents and teachers. They say, this new curriculum is to take the burden of examination off the shoulders of the students and enter the hands-on teaching process. Students are enjoying learning in this method. Now parents need to be aware. If the lack of training is removed, the “doubts “ of the teachers will also be removed.
Doubt about quality of education
Ruhin Parvez is a sixth-grade student of Government Laboratory High School in the capital. Ruhin is studying in the new curriculum from this year. The teacher gave him the job of rearing chickens during the holidays. As a result, Ruhin’s mother, Lima Akhter, bought a caged chicken for her son. After raising the chickens, if you give details about it, the teacher will evaluate it and give marks. Although there is joy and laughter in the family about the work of rearing chickens, Lima Akhter is worried about her son’s education.
Lima Akhter told, “Teachers will give all the marks. “ Children neither read nor write. My son is not sitting at the table when he comes home. Busy with chores. When talking about reading, sirs will give marks after seeing what I am doing. How about that? Children will not read, write – what is the method? It should not have been canceled at all. I demand the appropriate authorities including the education minister to consider it.
In the new curriculum there is no opportunity to know in which subject the student is doing well and in which subject he is doing poorly. The father of a seventh-grade student of Vikarunnisa Noon School and College Shah Alam Khanthinks that it is keeping the parents in the dark about the student’s educational life.
He told, “As a parent, I must be interested to know how my child’s talent is. I need to know what my daughter is good at and what she is weak at. Where he needs to be more focused – I don’t see any opportunity in the new curriculum to know these. In such a case, it is normal to worry about the education of the children. I can’t understand how education can go on without exams.
Most parents like Lima Akhter and Shah Alam Khan are worried about the new ’exam-free’ curriculum. They demand to cancel or modify this curriculum and add some exams.
However, Director General of Secondary and Higher Education Department (MAUSI) Professor Nehal Ahmed feels that parents are expressing such concerns because they are ’not aware’. He told, “Here (in the new curriculum), the entire education process is taught by hand. “ Earlier education was like local train. The new curriculum will be non-stop trains. A summative evaluation will be done at the end of the year. In this process, what the good students will learn or how they will get the education, the back row students will also get the education. It will eliminate discrimination based on merit. I can say for sure, this method will become a beacon for future generations.
“There is nothing to fear, “ he said, saying that some activities will be undertaken to make parents aware. I will tell the parents, be aware. Ask trained teachers if you have any questions. He will be able to convince you (parents). And it is not the first time that it is launched in Bangladesh. There are such educational programs in developed countries of the world. So, there is nothing to worry about.
Teachers are also in trouble
Most of the teachers are not yet trained in the new curriculum. Many of those who received training in one round did not become proficient in teaching according to the curriculum. As a result, teachers are also in trouble. Constantly plagued with questions from parents, but unable to give answers. Not only in rural villages, but also the teachers of educational institutions named in the capital are in the same situation.
A teacher of Mugda branch of Motijheel Ideal School and College told Daily Industry on condition of anonymity, “I took a class on water cycle a few days ago. There, the sources and uses of water are taught in detail. Later they were given group work. After two days, several parents came and said that their children did not study at home. So how will children be tested on this chapter? When I said – there will be no test, it will be evaluated by the teacher, then a different surprise among them! They can’t accept it. The parents want the exam to be conducted and they also want to know who got the marks in which exam.
Ashraful Islam is a secondary school teacher. The fact that many teachers are still not fully ’aware’ of the new curriculum emerges from his words. Ashraful Islam told, “The main problem of teachers is that many people still don’t have a clear idea about evaluation. “ They are not able to explain it to students and parents. This is increasing the concern of parents. They think that their children will probably grow up deprived of education due to the new education system.
But many people have different opinions. For example, it is not like there is no test at all, said Abdur Razzak, a primary school teacher. He has trained with the new curriculum. Abdur Razzak told, “There is confusion among the parents about the new curriculum. They have not yet understood this. Even educated parents do not understand. Everyone thinks it’s complicated and fake. And since most of the teachers have not yet received training, they are also not able to explain the matter to the parents.
He also said, ’Without the new curriculum exam – not like this. There are many exams here too, but not every three months. First Term, Second Term, Annual Exam – These are not available. Rather, in each class, students will be assessed on their merit while teaching each chapter. Summative evaluation will be done by adding marks at the end of the year by writing it down consistently. So, there is nothing to worry about.
’Question’ over teachers’ impartiality in assessment
Teachers will evaluate 40 percent of the new curriculum. The remaining 60 percent evaluation will be the responsibility of the education board officials. Teachers and board officials will have ’infinite power’ in this evaluation process. If they evaluate it will be ’unbiased’, how much is that assurance – such concern of the parents.
Mohaiminul Hossain, a sixth-grade student of Jhenaidah Government High Boys School. Her mother Asma Akhtar expressed doubts about whether teachers can maintain impartiality in evaluating students’ classes and work.
Asma Akhter told, “The children of DC-UNO or other high-ranking people are studying with my son. It is very practical to evaluate the work and give marks. In this case, where is the guarantee that the teachers will not be influenced and give more marks to the children of influential people?’
Nishit Roy, father of Nirupama Roy, a seventh-grade student of the Banshree branch of Ideal School and College in the capital, said, “If there was an examination, the report card could have been challenged. There is no test here. If the teacher gives low marks to someone, there is no way to talk about it. It (the new curriculum) has become a bizarre system.’
In this context, the former Director General of Maushi, Golam Farooq, told, “Until now, in the education system of Bangladesh, there were very few marks in the hands of teachers. In public exam maybe 20-25 marks were in practical. In that too, sometimes complaints of giving less to some and more to some are heard. If neutrality cannot be maintained in the new curriculum, it will cause great disaster. Moreover, without proper training, teachers will not be able to evaluate properly. It will also be a big obstacle.
However, NCTB member Professor Mashiuzzaman said that the role of teachers in evaluating students’ work will be strictly monitored. He said, “Some dimensions have been set in the evaluation. It is understandable if teachers violate it. Teachers will be held accountable if overestimated or underestimated.
New curriculum in class seven next year
This year, new curriculum has been introduced in the first, sixth and seventh classes. In 2024, the second, third, eighth and ninth classes will be taught according to the new curriculum. That is, the new curriculum will be launched in full swing in almost all classes of primary and secondary level. The assessment method is also different in the new curriculum. 100% learning time will be assessed.
Meanwhile, the new curriculum will be launched in the fourth, fifth and tenth classes in 2025. From the year 2025, 60 percent will be assessed during learning in Bengali, English, Mathematics, Science and Social Science for Class IV and V students. The remaining 40 percent marks will be evaluated collectively.
Students of classes VI to VIII will also be evaluated in the same manner. However, 100% learning time will be assessed in Life and Livelihood, Digital Technology, Physical and Mental Health and Safety, Religious Education and Arts and Culture.
There will be 10 subject determinations till class 10 after removing department division in class 9. Everyone will read them. Students will study optional subjects in class 11th and 12th. In other words, science, humanities and commerce will be divided from high school. Higher secondary i.e. class 11 will be taught in 2026 and class 12 in 2027 according to this process.
National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) Chairman Prof. Farhadul Islam gave this information. According to him, after finalizing the new curriculum, it was decided to implement it in a phased manner. It is being implemented accordingly. In the next two years, the new curriculum will be launched in full swing at almost all levels. Through this, major changes will be visible in the entire education system.
100% teacher training this year
Educationists consider the lack of training of teachers as a major obstacle in the implementation of the new curriculum. To remove this obstacle, Maushi wants to bring 100% of teachers under training in the new curriculum within September-October. The department has started working for this purpose.
Maushi Director General Nehal Ahmed said, “We are trying to train 100% of teachers in the new curriculum between September and October. For this purpose, letters are being sent from time to time asking for the list. We hope that it will be possible to bring hundred percent of teachers under training before the start of the next academic year.
Mentioning that he is in some trouble with senior teachers, he said, “We are in a little trouble with senior teachers. “ Even if they get the training, they are having trouble implementing it. Newly recruited or middle-aged teachers can quickly grasp the training. Now the big challenge is to bring the seniors in this stream as well.

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