Changes of government is said to have held up implementing any education policy so far. Every time a new government is installed, they discard any policy drawn up by their predecessors. But that is not the case of the education policy formulated in 2010 by the committee headed by the late educationist Kabir Chowdhury. The government and the education minister in office at the time are still at the helm. So why is this policy not being implemented?
One of the salient features of the national policy was to extend primary education from up till Class-V to Class-VIII. This decision was based on the recommendations of the 1974 Dr Qudrat-e-Khuda commission. The government used infrastructural inadequacies as an excuse for this not being implemented till now, but in actuality the main obstacle is political. If primary education is extended till Class-VIII, then the existing public exams of Class-V and X will no longer be held. Secondary school will be up till Class-XII. But the government policymakers do not want to do away with the Class-V exam.
Also, the law required to implement the education policy, remains in limbo for unknown reasons. The proposed education policy bans all ‘guide books’ and coaching centres. It is said that vested quarters benefitting from the guide book and coaching business are preventing this law from being passed. The education policy was drawn up in 2010 and it is now 2018. It is unfortunate that nothing has been done in this regard so far. The government seems least bothered.
The education policy speaks of upholding the spirit and ideals of the liberation war, but none of this is reflected in the textbooks. On the contrary, in 2017 quite a few essays, stories and poems which reflected free thinking, were removed from the school books. This step was taken in response to demands by the fundamentalist organisation Hefazat-e-Islam. Vehement protests by those involved in the education policy, pro-government educationists and intellectuals, were totally overlooked.
The logic behind taking primary education up till Class-VIII was that a child needed these eight years to get to accumulate knowledge and comprehend the basics. If the government is not going to implement the education policy, then why was it declared with such fanfare? Pressurising the young children with piles of books and studies can never bode well.
Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid said that the education policy was under process of being implemented. But when will it actually see the light of day?
Certain elements of the policy have been implemented. This includes starting pre-school education, and distributing certain specified textbooks. On the first day of the year the government distributes hundreds of thousands of school books. These are undoubtedly good steps, but unless fundamental changes are brought about in the system, the objectives of the education policy will fall flat.
Source: Prothom Alo