Why govt primary schools of Dhaka City so miserable? - Dainikshiksha

Why govt primary schools of Dhaka City so miserable?

Masum Billah |

The miserable and pitiable lifestyle of the characters titled ‘ Pandit Moshai, Eadali Master, Taleb Master’ representing the then teaching community gives us an insightful view of our education of the past. Teachers’ individual economic condition was seriously miserable, still their production and dedication to teaching surpassed everything. In this age of computer and internet when messages can be sent in a second from one end of the globe to another, state owned educational institutions and overall teaching-learning situation have not changed comparing to the physical and infra-structural development of the city. A Bengali daily has published a report on 40 government primary schools of the city of Dhaka reflecting several characteristics that really make us appalled. The report says that only the children of poor income families go to the government primary schools, the schools don’t have peon, security guard at night, cleaners and ayah. The school management committee and the contribution of local people sometimes manage these staff of their own cost. Unclean, dirty and shabby pictures of government primary schools of Dhaka hardly attract the children there except poor income families. These schools don’t have any co-curricular activities either. The land of some schools and even some school buildings has been occupied by influential locals. Only these examples prove enough to evaluate the situation of primary education offered by the state in the capital city of Dhaka and further giving us a notion of the primary schools scattered across the country. Is it not our right to receive primary education in a joyful atmosphere? If it is not ensured in this mega city, does it happen anywhere in the country?


Dhaka city witnesses the flyover being constructed at a cost of sumptuous amount of money, metro rail and elevated express bearing testimony to the development and modernism, the same Dhaka sees very shabby conditioned government primary schools accommodating students hurdling with each other in a small and dark room. Many government primary schools don’t have even drinking water, sanitation facility. According to education policy there should be one teacher for every 30 students but this ration is 1:45 and more than this figure in some schools. There is no play ground for playing and taking exercise for the students. This poor situation lies almost in all the 342 government primary schools in the city of that makes us surprised that we have such type of arrangement for those who are going to lead the nation in future.As the children of poor families come here to study, there is no playground and even drinking water for them. There is no playground at in 252 government primary schools out of 342 in Dhaka City. Is there any unwritten or assumed condition that things must be worse in case of government run institutions?  The country manages 65thousand 620 state run  primary schools across the country and among them 342 schools exist  in Dhaka City  offering this poor show.

In 1973 around 37 primary schools were nationalized and again in 2013 another 36thousand primary schools have been nationalized that we certainly appreciate. But the quality of education and the entire system of teaching and learning has not improved at all with some possible exceptions. Those who have means don’t send their children to government primary schools. Some opine that the primary schools in the city pose so miserable picture mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, the children of poor  and low income group people study there. As the poor children go to these schools, all concerned including the ministry don’t give any importance to the matter. If the children of affluent class had studied here, the guardians, concerned field and departmental officials along with the ministry would have given huge importance. Secondly, the influential people don’t want government primary schools run smoothly. They want to evacuate the schools and grab the land. What measures the authorities have taken in response to this phenomenon remains unknown.  It’s  an imperative to rescue the schools already grabbed and occupied by some local influential people. We know that a project to beautify  the government primary schools  has been taken at a cost of Tk 1thousand 160 crore whose implementation period ranges from January 2020 to December 2024 but till now (2023) only ten schools have seen its implementation giving us a very negative signal.  A valid question also arises why only 342 government primary schools in a mega city like Dhaka? Does it mean to encourage private education? Do we want to mean government schools are only for the economically backward people? Do we also want to mean that affluent sections must not come to government primary schools? If so, that also need to be transparent. We will talk against private schools, non-government schools but allow them to operate and continue talking big for state owned schools seem to be a paradox.


The government schools of Delhi have seen quite a changed shape since 2015 when Aam Admi Party came to power who took several pro-people initiatives and the service sectors such as health, education, electricity and water got the top priority as the common people have to suffer a lot due to the crisis and lack of access to these sectors. The party has understood well and it believes in people’s right to access to these things as their fundamental rights . Because of their giving importance to these areas they have brought real changes in state run educational institution creating a bright example to be followed by other states of India and even the surrounding countries where state schools face negligence and miserable state of education management. Usually state owned institutions don’t accommodate water and sanitation facilities and an effective management. The party boldly changed these areas to attract students and guardians to government schools. We have a good lesson to learn from this example. Other states of Delhi also show their interest to replicate the education model of Delhi in other states. 

We should devise our education system in such a way as geographical, social and economic causes cannot stand as barriers to give education to all. National Education Policy 2010 says that pro-people, easy, sound, balanced, well planned, pro-science and quality education orientated to be ensured for all. However, the current situation of education stands far apart from that promise. Even primary education which was said to be free, fair and compulsory for all ,  has been split into social, economic and geographical segments . There comes a great difference among Bengali medium, English medium, English Version, madrasa education , government school, non-government schools, private schools, urban schools and rural school showing  a big and incomparable difference that must be annihilated if we really want a sound and quality primary  education for all.

Writer: Education Specialist and Lead-Education and Research Team, Dainikshiksha.com and Dainik Amader Barta


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