The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has found involvement of 522 teachers of 24 government high schools in the capital with coaching business and private tuition. A five-member inquiry team led by an ACC director has submitted a report to the commission, recommending action against the teachers involved in coaching business.
Before making the list of the teachers responsible for coaching business, the ACC special team conducted a series of drives in the capital and identified the teachers responsible for doing coaching business and private tuition in their houses.
Surprisingly, violating the government rules, these teachers have managed their posting at same schools for 10 to 33 years and making huge money running coaching business. The ACC inquiry team has recommended transfer of the teachers as they have been making money through coaching business for years.
The report revealed that, political pressure, lobbying and unethical financial transactions responsible for long stay of the teachers in same schools.
A deep-rooted malaise in the field of our education is that, many teachers of schools and collages are involved in private coaching ignoring their main job of teaching in classrooms and unhesitatingly indulging in private coaching to make a quick buck. Most of these teachers take rented rooms close to their institutions and carry on their full-time business of private coaching.
About three years back, the High Court (HC), in a commendable move, issued a rule asking the government to explain why it should not be ordered to publish a gazette notification banning the teachers of government and MPO-listed schools from private coaching. A two-member HC bench comprising Justice Farid Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Hasan Ali issued the rule, in response to a writ petition filed by Guardians Forum President Mia Kabir, as private tuition cost bears down heavily on many of them.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also severely criticised coaching business of the teachers. While inaugurating a course and unveiling of the plaque of the Naem’s administrative building, on August 17, 2010, the prime minister pointed out some of the vilest abuses in the field of education. She said the human values have gone so down that students often are not given pass marks if they do not go for coaching to particular teachers.
At that time the education minister also said that, the government was going to take action against teachers involved in coaching business and formed a four-member committee, headed by a joint-secretary, to collect information on such teachers and make a list. The government, however, in June 2012 imposed some restriction on the teachers of schools, colleges and madrasas regarding their private tuition at coaching centres and to students of respective educational institutions. But the restrictions imposed by the government on the teachers did not help to stop coaching business anyway.
A national daily in a report published sometime back also said, some 500 teachers of a dozen renowned schools and colleges in the city are involved in private coaching business. Despite these teachers are receiving salary from the government exchequer, they are quite busy with various coaching centres and private tuitions instead of focusing on the classroom teaching. In the process though, meritorious but poor students who are not capable to pay for the private teaching, are deprived of this privilege.
Running of coaching centres by teachers have become a brisk business in these days and the involved teachers do not care much about the government action. The malpractice has reached to an alarming level with huge number of coaching centres being run by serving teachers at the expense of classroom teaching. Naturally, the students are bound to suffer, as the time allotted to teachers for conducting classes at the school is diverted to their coaching centres.
Some teachers also induce the students saying that, those who want to secure good marks should seek help of the teacher outside the school hours, preferably at the coaching centre run by the teacher. Many walls in the cities are cluttered up with posters proclaiming that such and such ‘sir’ on such and such subjects, are offering coaching with guaranteed A+ result. But these teachers never give such guarantee in classroom teaching.
It is not long ago when it was found that schools always attended to the extra need of their students. If there was need for extra coaching, the schools would arrange it with their own accord. Neither the students were charged for it nor the teachers asked for remuneration for the extra effort they put in. The all-pervasive private coaching was not known then to anybody.
The government should stop the MPO to those mercenary teachers who are engaged in coaching business. The government may initiate legislative ban on advertisement of private coaching, the way advertisement of cigarette has been banned. But only imposition of a ban will not work without strict enforcement. Printing and selling of notebooks has also banned but notebooks could not be banished from market.
Call for ensuring quality education is being made relentlessly by different circles as the quality of education in the country is hardly satisfactory in most cases and as it is difficult nowadays to move forward without quality education. Unfortunately in our country, both the public and private institutions are not running properly to ensure quality education to the students. Students are not getting proper education at schools and colleges as many of the teachers are giving much of their time and energy in private coaching to earn easy money. The most painful part of it is that, no one has ever heard of private coaching going on such a large scale defying classroom teaching. Surely, such vilely abuse by the teachers will not be found elsewhere in the world.
Across the world, India is seen as an education powerhouse for its academic excellence, based largely on class room teaching. India was ranked second among the 73 countries that participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), conducted annually to evaluate education systems worldwide by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Secretariat. The survey was based on two-hour tests that half a million students are put through. China, which participated in PISA for the first time, scored the highest in reading.
The anger aired by the prime minister, education minister and also the High Court against the teachers who are involved in coaching business was quite justifiable. Surely, these have given vent to a seething resentment of people, which have been simmering so long. But only airing of anger is not enough to arrest the spectre of coaching business which has now reached to an alarming state. The government can in anyway shrug off its responsibility for deteriorating quality of education for which coaching business in mainly responsible.
The BNP-led four-party government did many wrongs, but its education minister did a splendid job by eliminating mass copying in the public examinations, which engulfed the whole nation placing the evaluation system in the public examinations at shambling gait. The education minister of the incumbent government can also set another such example by transferring those 522 teachers the ACC found involved in coaching business, outside the city areas.
Nearly four lakh teachers of 30,845 non-government schools, colleges and madrasas are now being paid by the government that comes from the tax payer’s purse. So, these institutions should be brought under strict accountability and the spending must ensure the purpose for which it has been meant. The teachers in schools and collages are now being paid enough to make their both ends meet. Private coaching is now a matter of greed, not of sustenance.
The mercenary teachers need some moral teaching to make them committed to the noble cause of the profession. Only then quality of education will improve and coaching centres and private teaching will take the backseat.
The writer is a columnist. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org