Md Abul Bashar, Vice Principal, Government Teachers’ Training College, Feni died of cardiac arrest on 12 May 2019 at United Hospital Dhaka at the age of 53. He joined General Education Cadre on 22 February in 1998 through the 17th BCS. His sudden death was like a bolt from the blue to his colleagues, relatives, friends, and acquaintances.
Md Abul Bashar was amiable, friendly, cooperative, properly educated, trained both at home and abroad, well-mannered and what not! As a teacher, educator and trainer, he amassed huge appreciation from his students, trainees and colleagues. He had a captivating power to catch the attention of his audience.The loss of such a teacher educator having the power to motivate and change the attitudes of his trainee teachers is really a great loss for us and for the education sector of the country because it takes a long time and hard efforts to be a Abul Bashar.
Only a small number of teacher educators are seen so motivated and hard-working to work for the qualitative change of the teachers’ education, secondary education and education in general. Some readers may ask: who are called teacher educators?
Teacher educators are those teachers who train and educate the teachers of the country. Theoretically, although not always true, teacher educators are expert in and responsible for providing the knowledge of learning theories, philosophy of education, education policies, curriculum, teaching methods and techniques, how to use technology in teaching and learning, using teaching aids, assessment for and assessment of learning and so on.
Teacher educators teach the students coming for studying Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) and Master of Education (M.Ed.). Usually, practicing secondary and primary teachers come for the mentioned professional degrees although a good number of fresh graduates are also admitted.
Countries having success in achieving quality education have a good number of dedicated and hard-working teacher educators having strong professional qualifications. Teacher education and teacher training plays a crucial role in the making of good teachers of a country. The country’s education system would see better days if more numbers of better teachers can be produced through good teaching, proper training, and motivational activities.
Although it is not allowed to start teaching in educational institutions without a degree or a Diploma in Education in countries like Australia, New Zealand and other developed countries, these kinds of degrees or diplomas or training are not preconditions to be a teacher at any level of education in Bangladesh. Although not a precondition, a degree or a diploma is preferred in time of recruitment at primary and secondary levels of education in Bangladesh, too.Whatsoever, it can be said for sure that the glitches in our education are because of the lack of pedagogical education or training of teachers in schools, colleges and universities. There are 14 government Teacher Training Colleges in Bangladesh and around 300 teacher educators have been rendering their services in those institutions to educate and train the teachers especially the secondary teachers. Other 57 Primary Teacher Training Institutes are working to educate and train the primary teachers. However, there is no organisation to educate and train the teachers engaged in tertiary education.
Md Abul Bashar was like a dazzling star spreading light among the teachers and his colleagues. He used to think about how to improve the quality of education of Bangladesh. After his postgraduate degree in Geography and Environmental Science from Dhaka University, he completed Diploma in Education and Master of Education from the same university. Later on he was sent to New Zealand and Malaysia for higher training in education.
His professional education and training transformed him as a complete teacher educator who dedicated his life to make changes in education; and trying to implement what he learnt in the training sessions and through interactions with the teachers and teacher educators of the world in training sessions and seminars he attended at home and abroad. He used to inspire his junior colleagues to work sincerely for the implementation of the government policies; national curriculum; and to use technology in teaching.
Why does the country require a teacher educator like Md Abul Bashar? The younger teacher educators and secondary teachers could follow a teacher like him as a model. His influencing power was evident in the trainees’ appreciations about him and his sessions; publishing his educational thoughts in the dailies and in research journals; recurrently pressing his colleagues to try things differently. His newspaper and journal articles made aware the teachers and the general readers regarding some aspects of education and government policy.
His sincerity and honesty was visible and palpable in his activities. The junior colleagues and trainees were much influenced by his intellectual ability, sincerity and honesty. He used to come to the college before 9 and leave after 5. If a principal or a vice principal maintains punctuality, discipline and integrity, no one else can avoid their responsibilities. He was a pro-student education administrator who was also appreciated for his strictness! His presence in any place could illuminate others through his intellectual ability, fair thought and generous behaviour.
He has provided his service to the nation to the full and the nation should pay homage to a dedicated teacher educator. If we do not acknowledge the contribution of a noble and sincere teacher educator, we will not find peace in mind. The presence of a huge number of people in his janaja prayer in Lakhpur Shimulia College ground, Narsingdi indicates that people are grateful to a person who feels responsible and does his duty to the society.
Other teacher educators and teachers can learn sincerity, amicability, honesty and humility from Md Abul Bashar’s life and way of living. We pray to God for the salvation of the departed soul of Md. Abul Bashar. Rest in peace forever Md Abul Bashar. Good bye; good bye forever!
The writer is Associate Professor at Teachers’ Training College, Dhaka and a colleague of late Md Abul Bashar