The whole world came to a standstill with the outbreak of the Coronavirus epidemic. More than a billion have been affected, more than three million have died and the world economy has collapsed. An invisible catastrophe descended all over from the industrial to the education sector. People all over the world are struggling to overcome the effects on their lives. In Bangladesh, the students have been set back a couple of years, as the education sector suffered irrevocably.
Experts and academics cannot seem to find a way to give a light of hope to the students. As a result, many meritorious students are being silently lost to oblivion. Although promotion is arranged through assignments at primary and secondary level, there is a different image for the honours students. A large part of these students come from middle and lower middle class families. Meritorious students are losing opportunities as the institutions have been closed for more than a year. Some are leaving the country for various reasons including family pressure and worries about the future. Gradually different countries of the world arranged teaching activities on online platforms, although it was a problem in the beginning. But in the case of Bangladesh, it is not so easily available as a large part of the students live in villages making it impossible to take online lessons at home due to network problems.Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has clearly informed that if the situation does not improve, all educational institutions will remain closed. As a result, universities are looking for different ways to solve their students' session clutter. But seven government colleges in the capital affiliated to DU are being neglected. Although there are assignments and online classes in different institutions, the authorities do not have any headache about promotion of the students of these colleges. Although five years have passed, the problems of the seven colleges have not been properly managed so far. Considering the overall situation, it is unfortunate that students of the present have been stuck in session jams for six years now. If it takes so long for students to complete their education, the hope of getting a job will skyrocket. The general students of these seven colleges are demanding all the necessary steps, including the intervention of the Ministry of Education, in this regard.
In order to improve the quality of education, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed the opening of seven government educational institutions in the capital affiliated to the University. These are Dhaka College, Eden Mohila College, Government Shaheed Suhrawardy College, Kabi Nazrul Government College, Begum Badrunnesa Government Girl's College, Mirpur Bangla College and Government Titumir College. At present more than two and a half lakh students are studying in these educational institutions. For more than a year, the authorities seem to have been indifferent to the lockdown. As a result, the frustration and anger of the students are gradually increasing.
Education is the backbone of the nation. But whereas the protection of the backbone of the nation is supposed to be the main issue, it seems to be neglected. Although there has been a lot of talk about the catastrophe of the Corona and the possible rescue plans for the country's economy, agriculture or other service sectors, there is no effective plan or system for education - the most important sector of the country. The ministry just ended their duty by announcing an increase in the closure.
Although the cabinet has proposed to save the cinema halls, no one has mentioned any help or solving problems in the education sector. I do not see any discussion in any quarters about the causes of the problems that have plagued the education sector during this period. Though the terrible damage being done to this sector can never be remedied, as students are losing precious academic years sitting idle.
The economy will turn around, agriculture will rise despite the catastrophic floods, the remittances from abroad will revive, the readymade garment industry will return to its former state, but it will be difficult to overcome the crisis in the education sector and secure the future of our students like before without concerted efforts. Experts and academics need to think about finding an alternative solution quickly. If the education sector cannot cope with this catastrophe, society and the country will fall behind. We need to find the right solution with the utmost importance in protecting our future generations and talented leadership.
Mamun Hossain Agun, Department of Political Science, Dhaka College, Dhaka