Some thoughts on education

Alamgir Khan
Thursday, December 21st, 2017


The education sector in Bangladesh abounds with many contradictory forces. Efforts to streamline the sector are facing obstacles old and new. Discussions on education issues, pointing to the problems and prospects, charting new ways are, therefore, very important. As education is the most important thing in our individual as well as national life, the discussions should go on and move forward to deeper levels so that every one can have access to education and it can benefit all as per expectation. Some education thoughts and insights are available in Kichhu Shikkhachinta, a book of 48 pages published by CDIP (Centre or Development Innovation and Practices), an NGO, in October this year. This is in fact a compilation of write-ups by various writers, most of whom are young, in Shikkhalok, an education bulletin published by this NGO.


Muhammad Yahiya and Manzur Shams have written on how CDIP tries to stop drop-outs from primary school by giving children of Classes I and II extra care after school and emphasizing their cultural development. Md. Tarequzzaman, acting head teacher of Borat Govt. Primary School in Santhia, Pabna, has written on the strategy school teachers should follow in teaching English successfully to children. Md. Zahidul Islam has written on some crises teachers face in our country. There is a tribute to an ideal teacher in the district of Hajiganj and a review of a book by Ibrahim Sobhan about his exceptional idea of school-based learning without the so-called homework.


Saleha Begum’s write-up on the beginning of female education in Bangladesh since 1947 throws light on pioneers of that period, including the illustrious Begum Rokeya. Rumana Sultana has explored the harm caused by bullying in school, which is a widespread problem though unnoticed and usually unaddressed in our education system. Alaul Hossain’s description of floating schools on boats run by BRAC for people in the sandy regions of Pabna gives one an idea about an innovative effort toward taking education to the doorsteps of marginalized people.


Alok Acharja focuses on the true meaning, method and purpose of reading books, which is for liberating minds, not for leading to mere good results in school exams. Shishir Mallick has written on the real meaning of the development of children, which is to enable them to think widely and critically instead of learning by rote. Children need wide spaces like fields, parks, etc., for sports and other activities in order to expand their intellectual horizon. But space is becoming harder to find day by day in our city life.


Mohammad Ali’s write-up on Narendra Nath Datta (1884-1949) and Banipith, a college in Sreekail, Comilla, founded by him, is a nice tribute to that great social worker. Datta grew up through a very hard struggle in his life and later contributed to the nation by founding this education institute that has changed lives of many who rose from destitution to great success in their own lives. It is sad that there are not many social workers nowadays as dedicated to the welfare of humanity as Narendra Nath Datta.

Then there is an article on the need for uninterrupted education for a child in any situation. It says that Education Cannot Wait is the United Nations’ first humanitarian fund for education of children in emergencies. This fund is aimed at reaching more than 13.6 million children and youth living in crisis situations like conflict, natural disasters and disease outbreaks. The former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown writes, “Education brings children and their families hope, the security of a routine, and the ability to plan for the future. Getting and keeping children in school also keeps them safe from dangers such as child labour, early marriage and radicalization.” This essay in the book asserts that policymakers should be aware of the need for continuing education for children in any bad situation they fall into in our country. It is urgent to know that education just cannot wait, never and for none.

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