Inside Education

Is 'Education' the Most Undervalued Thing in Bangladesh?


Bangladesh is currently experiencing a wave of development, from the Rooppur Nuclear Project and the metro rail to the Karnaphuli Tunnel and the visible Padma Bridge. Amidst all this progress, it appears that education is being sidelined, almost as if it's the least important aspect. The COVID-19 pandemic serves as a striking example.

During the coronavirus pandemic, 40% to 45% of students lacked digital access, meaning they couldn't benefit from the internet. Despite the government's efforts, a significant number of children were unable to participate in remote learning programs conducted through television, the internet, community radio, and mobile phones. Additionally, the dropout rate has surged during this period.

For nearly one and a half years, all educational institutions in the country were closed due to the pandemic, even though everything else, including the garment industry, continued. The challenges faced by the education system during the closure have prompted discussions about the need for an educational recovery plan, a topic educators have been emphasizing for quite some time.

The real challenge lies in the fact that reduced income among rural communities due to the pandemic has hindered the education and livelihoods of their children. The closure of schools has made it difficult to monitor the correct number of at-risk students. 

Moreover, many teachers at the primary and even secondary level lack the necessary skills to effectively educate students. Consequently, it raises questions about the overall investment required to run the education system, the need for charismatic leaders, and the extent to which we have measured and addressed these concerns through various means of social communication. Educators are now initiating discussions on these issues.

The level of civility in a society or country is often determined by its educators. The more educated and dedicated teachers there are, the more civilized the country becomes. However, in our country, teachers are often considered among the most neglected in the list of underprivileged groups, right after farmers.

Recently, it was reported in the media that a Deputy Commissioner (DC) in Cumilla took three hours of classes at a school. It is worth noting that this gentleman initially secured a job in the education sector. Later, he prepared again and joined the administrative cadre through the Bangladesh Civil Service (Administration) exam, leaving his teaching career behind. While this individual found a good opportunity, most teachers have had bad luck. From primary to university level, almost all teachers are disheartened in their respective positions. And this has a profound impact on the overall education system.

According to the Global Knowledge Index, Bangladesh is ranked 112th out of 138 countries. In comparison, Vietnam ranks 66th, India 77th, Sri Lanka 87th, Bhutan 94th, Rwanda in Africa 99th, Ghana in Africa 101st, Nepal 110th, and Pakistan 111th, all ahead of Bangladesh.

UNESCO has stated that for a country to become developed, it must allocate at least 5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to education. However, in the fiscal year 2021-22, only 11.92% of the national budget, equivalent to 71,953 crore taka, was allocated to the education sector. This amounts to just 2.08% of the GDP, which means that only half of what the United Nations recommends has been allocated.

Even in the declaration of our great Liberation War, there was a clear call to engage the three revolutionary commitments and encourage the people to join the war. The proclamation of independence stated that independent Bangladesh would be based on equality, social justice, and human dignity. 

Furthermore, in the 1972 Constitution, the importance of universal human rights was underscored. Article 17(K) of our Constitution states, "The state shall adopt effective measures for the purpose of establishing a uniform, mass-oriented, and universal system of education." However, it was only in the years following the establishment of Bangladesh that this policy was actually implemented. Since then, various methods and systems of education have been introduced and so on.

Dr. Kamrul Hasan Mamun, a professor at Dhaka University, posted on his Facebook profile on the occasion of Teacher's Day. He wrote that Bangladesh is the only country where primary school teachers are classified as third-class government employees. Referring to someone as a third or fourth-class employee in the context of the state is considered derogatory. Yet, primary school teachers in Bangladesh are classified as such. He questioned how this can be seen as anything other than a disgrace. These same primary school teachers are responsible for educating young children who will shape the future of Bangladesh.

Dr. Mamun further compared the salaries of university-level professors in India to those in Bangladesh. In India, a university-level professor earns around 2.5 lakh taka (250,000 taka) per month, which is significantly higher than what their counterparts in Bangladesh receive. He highlighted the lower cost of living in Bangladesh compared to India and questioned the value placed on education and research in Bangladesh.

He also raised concerns about why many teachers resort to part-time teaching at private universities or coaching centers. He questioned whether teaching part-time at private institutions brings joy to teachers. He also pointed out that this situation extends to school and college teachers who often teach privately. He argued that unless these issues are addressed and resolved, the quality of education and teaching will continue to suffer in Bangladesh.

Educators say that education is the backbone of a nation, and an educated population is its strength. In India, to become a primary school teacher, certain educational qualifications, including a Master's degree, are required, and there is a minimum score that must be achieved in various subjects. This is called the qualification threshold. A primary school teacher in India receives a salary equivalent to that of a government secretary. As a result, talented, skilled, and highly qualified individuals aspire to become teachers, leading to quality education. 

However, in Bangladesh, the teaching profession lacks prestige. Those who cannot find other opportunities often turn to teaching. On the other hand, since independence, seven different education policies have been introduced. The government, under the leadership of a distinguished educator, embraced one of these education policies. But so far, no government has effectively implemented the policy they themselves adopted. This is a grave concern. Educators believe that until we overcome these challenges, the taste of true education will remain elusive.

Bangladesh   Education  


Inside Education

President for time-befitting, world-standard higher education

Publish: 11:04 AM, 08 Feb, 2024


President Mohammed Shahabuddin today asked the university authorities concerned to implement world-standard higher education.

He came up with the call when a delegation of Dhaka University led by its Vice-Chancellor (VC) Professor Dr ASM Maqsud Kamal called on him at Bangabhaban here.

During the meeting, the President was apprised by the VC of the overall activities of DU, President's Press Secretary Md Joynal Abedin told BSS in the afternoon.

The university chancellor put emphasis on the research activities in the university to make country’s higher education meaningful.  

The world situation is changing rapidly due to the revolutionary development of information technology (IT), he mentioned.

The President stressed on making students competent and skilled to keep pace with the changing world.

The head of state said the overall education programme, including the curriculum should be adjusted to highlight the skills and abilities of the students in the international arena.

The DU VC informed the president that a master plan has been formulated for the overall development of the university. And it will be implemented in three phases over 15 years, resulting in major changes in the DU’s infrastructural and academic curriculum, he added.

Secretaries concerned to the Bangabhan were present on the occasion.

President Mohammed Shahabuddin   Dhaka University   Higher Education  


Inside Education

Controversy Surrounding Vice Chancellor!


Vice-Chancellor (VC) is the highest-ranking official in a university, responsible for the overall administration of the institution. They are also the guardians of the students, teachers, and staff in the university. However, when VCs themselves become embroiled in controversies, misconduct, and alleged irregularities, it disrupts the normal functioning of the university. This has led to protests by teachers and students in various public universities in Bangladesh at different times. The repercussions of these controversies involving VCs have negatively impacted the educational environment in the country's top academic institutions.

1. Former VC Khandaker Nasiruddin of BSMRSTU: A student and campus journalist in the second year of the university's law department brought temporary expulsion for an incident to the center of student anger. Although several other allegations, including corruption, irregularities in recruitment, and harassment of female students, were raised, it was the demand for the resignation of Dr. Khandaker Nasiruddin, the former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU), that led to protests by university students. He eventually resigned amid the protests.

2. Former VC Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah of BRU: Controversy has surrounded former VC Professor Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah of Begum Rokeya University (Begum Rokeya) from the beginning, with various allegations of irregularities. He rarely visited the campus, conducting his office from Dhaka. There were also allegations that he favored his family members in university appointments. Teachers at the university joined the protests against him. During his tenure, over 40 allegations of irregularities, misconduct, and favoritism were raised. The University Grants Commission (UGC) investigated these allegations and recommended action. Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah claimed that there was a conspiracy against him and accused Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni of plotting against him, even saying that a plot to assassinate him was underway.

3. Former VC Dr. M. Abdus Sobhan of RU: Dr. M. Abdus Sobhan, the former VC of Rajshahi University (Rajshahi), faced various allegations of irregularities and controversies since taking office. He changed the teacher recruitment policy, appointing his daughter and son-in-law, and allegedly provided false information to the President when applying for leave. Even as his tenure came to an end, controversy continued to surround him. Student leaders from the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) accused him of financial irregularities within the university's finance committee, resulting in protests and lockdowns at the Vice-Chancellor's residence, administrative buildings, and the Senate building."

4. VC Dr. Farzana Islam of JU: Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Farzana Islam was accused of giving 2 crore taka to Chhatra League in the development project. However, the Vice-Chancellor said that she would not resign in the face of the agitation and said that she would step down if her excellency the President ordered. Having overcome the controversy, Professor Dr. Farzana Islam did not resign and is currently serving in her position.

5. VC Dr. M. Akhtaruzzaman of DU: Dr. M. Akhtaruzzaman, the Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University, is embroiled in a series of allegations, with a notable one involving the admission of 34 former and current leaders of the Chhatra League through 'backdoor' means, bypassing admission tests. This issue sparked protests among the university's students and gained widespread media attention.
In addition, irregularities were also alleged during the 2019 Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor panel election. Despite there being claims that three individuals within the panel received the highest number of votes, the current VC did not accept this outcome and placed himself at the forefront. Pro-VC Professor M. Samad was originally expected to be the top choice, leading to intense frustration among the faculty members within the Neel (Blue) faction at that time.

6. Former VC Dr. Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury of CU: Allegations have arisen against Dr. Iftikhar Uddin Chowdhury, the former Vice-Chancellor of Chittagong University (CU), involving the preferential hiring of relatives of teachers and staff, even recruiting former expelled students and alleged militants to various positions. Additionally, he has been questioned regarding the shelter and patronage of commerce, Chhatra League leaders involved in murder cases, and the controversy surrounding the Bangabandhu Chair. 

7. Former BU VC Dr. S.M. Imamul Haq: Former Vice-Chancellor of Barishal University (BU), Professor Dr. S.M. Imamul Haq, has been accused of various irregularities, including nepotism and favoritism in appointments. Subsequently, he faced student protests and pressure to resign from the university.

8. Former NSTU VC. Dr. M Wahiduzzaman: Former Vice-Chancellor of Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU), Dr. M Wahiduzzaman, is facing serious allegations of major irregularities in appointments. Despite the Ministry of Education's directive to halt appointments, it is alleged that a considerable number of staff were recruited during his tenure. Previously, in 2016, a committee from the University Grants Commission (UGC) had to investigate allegations of favoritism and harassment against external individuals and employees known to be aligned with the Vice-Chancellor, resulting in the committee returning to Dhaka under duress. However, Dr. Wahiduzzaman has consistently denied these allegations from the outset."

9. Former VC Dr. Mizanur Rahman of JNU: Dr. Mizanur Rahman, the former Vice-Chancellor of Jagannath University (JNU) faced criticism for controversial remarks during discussions on resolving the hostel rent crisis. He also expressed his desire to become the Chairman of the Jubo League, which led to further controversy. Despite this, he served two terms successfully, although many believe there was significant dissatisfaction.

10. SUST VC Prof. Farid Uddin Ahmed: The latest addition to the controversy surrounding university vice-chancellors is Professor Farid Uddin Ahmed, the Vice-Chancellor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST). Students, engaged in protests against his resignation as the hall provost, have resorted to a sit-in hunger strike, alleging police brutality during an incident. It's not just the incident; students have expressed their dissatisfaction with Professor Farid Uddin Ahmed for an extended period.

The protesting students have one common demand – the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed. Against him, there are allegations of nepotism, creating divisions among teachers and students, prohibiting any campus events, engaging in improper conduct with students, prioritizing hiring people from Cumilla for university positions, and various irregularities in development projects.

These controversies involving VCs have severely impacted the academic environment and stability of these universities, leading to unrest among students, teachers, and staff. The lack of resolution in many of these cases has raised questions about the accountability of university administrators in Bangladesh.



Inside Education

Strict action against question paper leak: Education Minister

Publish: 01:46 PM, 06 Nov, 2022


Education Minister Dipu Moni said, in the previous exams we saw that attempts were made to leak question papers at various places. But they did not succeed. We are adopting innovative strategies and strict monitoring to stop question leaking. However, strict action will be taken if anyone tries to spread rumors or leak questions.

The minister said this while talking to reporters after visiting Begum Badrunnesa Govt. Girls’ College centre in the capital on Sunday (November 6).


Inside Education

HSC exam to begin today

Publish: 08:29 AM, 06 Nov, 2022


The Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) and equivalent examinations are set to begin today (November 6). Bangla first paper exam will be held at 11:00 am on Sunday, on the very first of the schedule.

Meanwhile, special measures have been taken for dengue patients. Also, it has been asked to sprinkle mosquito spray in and around the center to reduce the risk of HSC candidates.

This year, 12 lakh 3 thousand 407 candidates from 9 thousand 181 educational institutions will participate in the examination in 2 thousand 649 centers. Among them, 6 lakh 22 thousand 796 are male students and 5 lakh 80 thousand 611 are female students. Last year the number of candidates was 13 lakh 99 thousand 690.

As per the scheduled, the written examination will continue till December 13. After the written exam, practical exam will be held from 15th December to 22nd December.

Usually HSC exam starts in April. But due to corona situation, it was not possible to take this exam at the scheduled time. SSC and HSC exams were postponed due to massive floods in some districts including Sylhet.

Education Minister Dipu Moni said on October 19 that coaching centers will be closed for 42 days across the country due to the HSC examination. Accordingly, all coaching centers are closed since November 3, which will continue till December 14.

HSC   Bangladesh  


Inside Education

SSC results likely to be published late November

Publish: 12:10 PM, 26 Oct, 2022


This year's Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and its equivalent examinations results will likely be published any day between November 27 and 30, said Inter-Education Coordinating Board President and Dhaka Education Board Chairman Tapan Kumar Sarker.

The SSC and equivalent examination of this year was held simultaneously between September 15 and October 1. The practical examination was held between October 10 to October 15.  

The work of preparation for SSC and equivalent exam result has already started. Many examiners have started evaluating the answer sheets and sending them to the education board. Somewhere again in the last step, the assessment is being verified. The result may be declared between 27th and 30th of November.

When asked about this matter, the President of the Inter-Education Coordination Board and Chairman of Dhaka Education Board Professor Tapan Kumar Sarkar told the media on Tuesday (October 25) that the evaluation of SSC answer sheets is underway and will end by mid-November.

He said the results are published within 60 days of the completion of the examination. The proposal will be sent to the Ministry of Education in the first week of November, mentioning the possible time between November 27 to 30 or December 1 for the publication of the results. The proposal will be sent to the Prime Minister from the ministry. The result will be announced after getting consent from Prime Minister.

A total of 20 lakh 21 thousand 868 students participated in this year's SSC and equivalent examinations under 11 boards. This exam was held in 3,790 centers across the country. Following the disruption of in-person teaching due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's exam was conducted on a short syllabus.

SSC Exam Result   Bangladesh   Education