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Implementation of new curriculum faces challenges

  • Md Solamain Salman
  • 28th September, 2021 11:00:18 PM
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Implementation of new curriculum faces challenges

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#Textbooks, teaching method top the list

#Experts suggest enhancing teachers’ skills, institutional capacity

#They lament teacher-student ratio at edn institutions

 

Welcoming the new curriculum formulated with lots of major changes in the education system, educationists said the government will face some major challenges to implement it.

They said it is not sure to how much of the curriculum can be implemented under the country’s existing education system.

According to the experts, at the top of these challenges are textbooks and the teaching method.

Lack of skilled teachers, assessment of students up to third grade, learning or continuous assessment of different levels up to class-XII and the transparency of learning assessment by the teachers are other challenges.

Apart from this, there are pressure of two public exams at the higher secondary level, consequences of not keeping business studies, history, geography at the secondary level and science education in ninth-tenth grades for abolishing the provision of science, humanities, commerce groups.

Sources said teachers will play a big role in the implementation of the new curriculum to make the education system a time-befitting one but the number of teachers is much less compared to students while a large part of the teachers have no required skills.

The number of qualified teachers needs to be increased and emphasis should be given on increasing the skills of teachers while the institutional capacity must be increased to reap the benefits of the new curriculum.

The government on September 12 approved the outline of the new curriculum for pre-primary to higher secondary levels with a big change in the student assessment system.

Under the new curriculum, no public examination will be held before Class-X. There will be no annual examinations for students of classes I, II and III but the learners will be promoted based on continuous assessment.

Public examinations will be held for class X-XII while group division will be introduced at class XI. All students from 6th to 10th grades will be taught 10 identical subjects.

The government will begin implementation of the new curriculum from 2023 in phases. But the new curriculum will be tested in a pilot programme in 2022.

According to Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS), there are around 2 crore students in 129,258 primary schools, including kindergartens, across the country.

There are 365,366 teachers in 65,620 government primary schools and the number of students is 141,445. So, the teacher-student ration is 1:39 at government primary schools.

The number of students is 10,349,323 in 20,600 secondary schools where there are 246,845 teachers with a teacher-student ratio of 1:42. There are 4,385,210 students in 4,551 colleges and the number of teachers there is 127,767. 

The data shows that the teacher-student ratio is not satisfactory at the educational institutions whereby the experts suggested improving it and enhancing skills of teachers for proper implement of the new curriculum.

The new curriculum recommends weekly, fortnightly and monthly assessments throughout the year during classroom teaching. There is a need for more qualified and skilled teachers for continuous assessment of the students.

Prof Dr Mohammad Tariq Ahsan, a member of the new curriculum formulation committee, said it is true that there are lots of challenges in implementing the new curriculum but they have recommended various levels to increase skills of teachers.

“The outline will be implemented in phases between 2022 and 2027. Therefore, there’re some short, medium and long term plans in it. Since it’ll be implemented step by step, a large number of teachers can be prepared for this,” he said.

It was learned that teacher guides and training programmes have been recommended to be launched across the country along with the start of experimentation of the new curriculum next year.

Regular training to develop the professional skills of teachers will begin in 2023. The teachers who will retire at this time will have to be replaced by new ones who will be trained in the new system.

The new outline identifies 10 learning areas for students. The students will be taught for the 10 sectors of learning during the 14-year education period up to class XII.

At the age of 4, the students will be admitted to pre-primary ‘minus two’ (nursery in the existing concept). Then they will be promoted to KG level. But they will not have any textbooks.

However, lessons will be taught in 10 subjects ranging from language and communication and mathematics and logic to art and culture according to age of the students.

There will be selected subjects or textbooks for primary to higher secondary level students. There will be examinations in five subjects for primary and secondary levels while eight examinations for higher secondary every year.

In this case, there is no traditional group-based education at the secondary level while there will be uniform textbooks at madrasa and technical levels too.

The exam system was not kept till third grade in the education outline. Parents also want to know what the assessment will be like without the test or what the assessment process will be like during the learning process.

Apart from this, the learning assessment has been kept 60 percent marks instead of exam up to class VIII. There is a big question and concern whether the assessment will be impartial and transparent.

The new curriculum does not include business studies, history and geography. But the insiders said 10 subjects have been sorted through the coordination of different issues.

The subjects of history, geography, physics or business studies are not seen as separate subjects in the curriculum but these have been kept in an integrated way.

On the other hand, vocational education has been made compulsory for all at the secondary level but there is no group division in class IX-X. The question among people is whether the importance of science education will decrease due to the absence of the groups at the secondary level.

Educationist Rasheda K Choudhury said, ‘There’re many good aspects of the new curriculum. The advice of academics and the issues raised in various studies have been taken up.”

She said, “The desired results will not be achieved if we don’t have proper plans and implementation. Because, even though the creative method was introduced earlier, it couldn’t be implemented properly as teachers could not be made skilled enough.”

Teachers have to be made efficient and at the same time, institutional capacity needs to be enhanced across the country to implement the new curriculum properly, she added.

Education Ministry’s Secondary and Higher Education Division Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain said the new curriculum has been formulated keeping pace with the changes of the world. The government is prepared for necessary spending and working to implement it properly. “Other countries are changing and updating their curricula after every five years. We should have changed the existing curriculum much ago,” he added.