Teachers lacking in training in their respective subjects impart teaching to secondary level students across the country, thus foiling the government initiative to ensure quality education at every level.
A research shows the grim picture of secondary school education, mentioning that some 55 per cent teachers of English and mathematics do not have any training to teach the students on two major subjects.Dhaka University Prof SM Hafizur Rahman acknowledged the fact.
“We divide the students into three groups—very attentive, mediocre attentive and very low attentive. Most attentive students become doctors and engineers and get other lucrative jobs. But, the least attentive students are coming into teaching profession. For this reason, the subject-based training of secondary teachers is very important in the context of our country,” he said.
Mentioning his practical experience, he said he found many teachers were teaching English despite having no clear knowledge on the subject while many teach science or mathematics without basic knowledge.
“When students ask any questions, they (teachers) are giving their own explanation. As a result, the students are learning wrong. Therefore, the mater of subject-based training should be taken more seriously,” he said.
Apart from the two key subjects, most teachers also do not have any subject-based training on other subjects.
The research also shows that a large number of teachers of science subjects remain out of subject-based training.The finding comes through a survey conducted by ‘Campaign for popular education” (CAMPE).
The private research firm revealed its findings through the title “Education Watch 2018: Secondary School Teachers in Bangladesh in the light of SDG 4” on Sunday.
About 75.5 percent of physics teachers, 77.5 percent chemistry teachers, 70 percent of Biology teachers, 67 percent of Bangla teachers, 78 percent of ICT teachers, 66 percent of accounting teachers and 64 percent general science teachers do not have subject-based training, it said.
The CAMPE report also said about 34 percent teachers do not have professional training like B.ED, and M.ED to ensure quality education at schools.
The research also finds some 22.4 percent teachers have been involved in private tuition.
Of them, about 17.2 percent teachers of government schools and 23.7 percent of private schools are involved with the practice.
The findings revealed that teachers who live in urban areas are more active in private tuition than those living in villages.
Some 30.1 percent teachers in urban areas and 20.5 percent in rural areas have been involved in private tuition.
The study shows that some 51 per cent teachers of mathematics, 37.55 percent English, 28.3 percent Business studies and 22.5 percent science teachers are involved in private tuition.
Most teachers are coaching the students at their own institute.
Based on the teachers’ self-assessments, the skill index was calculated in the Education Watch report.
It said 0.4 percent teachers think themselves as highly competent, 15 percent competent, 39.8 percent moderately competent, 27.6 percent average competent, 13.7 percent limited competent and 3.5 per cent as incompetent.
The researchers also collected information on the use of multimedia in subject-based teaching.
They found that most teachers are not using multimedia while teaching.
The teachers hardly use the multimedia system.
Study shows that only 30 per cent teachers teach the Accounting using multimedia system while 29.6 percent English, 23.9 percent biology, 20 per cent physics.
The teachers of arts and crafts scored the lowest in using the digital system as only 3.4 per cent of them use the technology.
Against the poor use of digital method, the teachers mentioned some problems, including power outage, lack of training, classroom insufficiency, lack of adequate equipment, lack of skills, defective equipment, lack of preparation time and inefficient materials in using the digital method.
The report noted that a significant portion of teachers did not know the important issues such as curriculum, education and SDGs.
Among the teachers who participated in the survey said 63 percent read the education policy, 62.5 percent read the syllabus and 40 percent of teachers heard about the Sustainable Development Goals.
The CAMPE Education Watch Report also shows that overall 37.1 percent of the teachers using guidebooks sold in the market though the government provides free textbooks to all.
About 39 percent of English teachers, 33 mathematics teachers, 23 percent science teachers, 21.5 percent Bangla teachers, and 17.1 percent Bangladesh and global studies teachers use such books in all grades of the secondary institutes.
The report observes that some guidebooks contain questions that are likely to appear in exams. The answers are also given there. As a result, the students or teachers do not need to solve the problems. All they have to do is memorise.
The use of guidebooks undermines the government provided textbooks and the teachers’ involvement in private tuition affects their classroom teaching.
CAMPE Executive Director Rasheda K Choudhury said it is unethical for the teachers who coach the students of their own institutions.
“Teachers are supposed to ensure the education in classrooms. But they are coaching the students outside,” she said.
Over the lack of skill on particular subjects, she said the lack of subject-specific training is definitely affecting the quality of education.
“Teachers should be expert on the subjects they are teaching. If they are poor, students will be deprived of knowledge,” she said, adding that those teachers, who fail to deliver properly in classrooms, become dependent on guidebooks.
Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury Nowfel said: “The government has long been focusing on improving the hardware and infrastructure of the education system and a large sum of money has been invested in this sector. Now the investment will gradually lead to quality education.”
He said: “The guidebook sellers were powerful businessmen who compel the teachers to recommend the guidebooks to students. The teachers receive a cut from the sales.”
Seeking cooperation from all, the deputy minister said the government is working to improve the quality education through giving proper training to the teachers.