PM’s direction to stop putting pressure on children to study: A light of hope
Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed of DOT :
Education is the key to overall development of a nation. The precondition for building a strong progressive country is a properly educated populace. Hence, education system should be suitable for the time and should meet international standard.
The fundamental aim for formulating an education policy in Bangladesh was to develop and nurture a child’s moral, mental and social personality, to bring up the child as a patriotic, responsible, inquiring and law-abiding citizen, and develop in him/her love for justice, dignity, labour, proper conduct and uprightness; to be able to acquire the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for a future citizen; etc.” (Education Commission, 1974). In 2010, under the leadership of our Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a commission was formed under the well-known educationist Dr. Kabir Choudhury. This commission mapped out a roadway for developing a curricula and textbooks imbued with the national spirit with a view to cultivate the humanistic values, creating a congenial and joyful environment in the schools to promote healthy physical and mental development of the children (National Education Policy 2010).
However, children in Bangladesh are deprived of their fun-filled childhood because of the stress of education that they have to go through in their school. They are required to take coaching classes on weekends and hence, not a single day is left for them to enjoy. In developed countries, children are sent to schools at the age of seven. However, in Bangladesh children are sent to school at a very young age.
Rasheda K Choudhury, Executive Director, Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) and Vice-President, Global Campaign for Education (GCE) said that the students in Bangla medium are required to sit for four national/public examinations before entering higher education institutions and because of the pressure of competing in all those completion exams, schools are often bypassing regular classroom-based assessments and focusing more on preparing students by any means, be it private coaching or using guidebooks. She further added that we need to get rid of coaching centres and the dependence on guidebooks rather than textbooks which again raises the urgency and adequacy of teacher preparedness and training.
Our PM on last Wednesday called upon all not to exert additional pressure on tender-hearted children to study and to make learning joyful experience for them.
She requested parents and teachers not to continuously nag the children to study as that could make them lose interest in learning and be frightened of education.
She said that we should help the children to flourish their inherent talents. PM raised a question that if children are asked to answer questions before entering school, why should they go to school.
She asked all concerned to cancel the procedure of giving printed question papers to Class I students and suggested that area-wise arrangements should be for admission of children. PM also asked the guardians to refrain from getting involved in unhealthy competition about their children’s future.
Stressing the need for physical, mental, social, aesthetic and emotional development of the students, PM said that inter-primary school sports and cultural competitions were being held with the participation of primary school students to ensure their physical and mental development.
Stress free quality education is the need of this age. This century demands the capacity of managing and assessing all the knowledge we have generated and the value addition we bring to it. In this regard, Barrister Al Amin Rahman, an advocate of Bangladesh Supreme Court; said that the current education system is traumatic and exigent due to the conventional parameters of academic assessment and evaluation, which infuse fear in the mind of a child. “There is insane competition among the students. Both parents and students have fear of being branded as failure. We have forgotten that success is a journey, not a destination; and success requires hard work”, Barrister Alamin Rahman added.
Finnish education system is known to be the best in the world, which lifted Finland out of poverty. Finland has an equal school system, a science-based teacher training programme and a high regard for teachers.
Now, we feel delighted that all the concerns we had about our education system have been rightly addressed by our PM and if her directions are duly implemented, we believe we have nothing left to worry about. After this, it seems that time has come to countdown for seeing Bangabandhu’s Sonar Bangla.
Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed, an Advocate and Executive Editor, Daily Our Time.