Sunday, 24 October, 2021

New Curriculum and Some Pertinent Issues

New Curriculum and Some Pertinent Issues
Masum Billah

The current global perspective, artificial intelligence, fourth industrial revolution and the very recent Coronoa pandemic remind us of changing our education curriculum to prepare the future generation so that they can face the challenges of the 21st century. The modification and implementation of curriculum usually takes place in ten to twelve years gap. On the basis of Kudrat-e- Khuda Education Report (1972-74), the first curriculum and syllabus development happened between 1976-80 which was modified twice in 1991-95 and 2012 respectively. The modification period between the first and second phase was fifteen to sixteen years. But the third one came in 2011-13 at a period of eight years’ gap. The step began in 2017 with the formation of two committees consisting of educationists of the country. Then again, ‘curriculum development and revision core committee’ was formed where ten educationists have been included. The committee submitted the 114-page outline of the curriculum which invited suggestions and opinions of the educationists and people concerned. Finally, it was sent to the ‘national curriculum co-ordination committee’ for further revision and comments. The curriculum of 02 countries have also been consulted to develop the new one. This gradual and step by step process to give a final shape to a revised curriculum deserves appreciation.

The new curriculum is going to be introduced from the year 2023. In order to ensure playful learning for the children there will be no terminal examination till grade three. However, pupils’ performance would be assessed on the basis of their classroom activities though its way has not been mentioned.  The new curriculum will be piloted in 100 primary and 100 secondary schools. The students of class one and two and the students of grade six and seven will receive new books on new curriculum from the year 2023. In 2024 grade three and four and eight and nine will be brought under new curriculum. By the year 2025 all the students of secondary level will come under this new curriculum and in 2026 eleven class and 2027 twelve class will be brought under it. A cohesion has been maintained to amalgamate the continuity from pre-primary to grade twelve syllabus. From pre-primary to grade three hundred percent assessment will be classroom based while grade four and five will have 60 percent classroom based and 40 percent summative assessment in Bengali, English, Mathematics, Science and social Science. Life skill and livelihood, Digital Technology, Physical and Mental Health safety, Religion and Arts and Culture will have classroom based assessment. In grade nine and ten fifty percent assessment will be school based and the rest fifty percent summative in Bengali, English, Mathematics, Science and Social Science. Other subjects will have classroom based assessment.  In the eleventh and twelfth grade, 30 percent classroom based assessment will be done in compulsory subjects while 70 percent will be summative assessment. The duration of class will be two and a half hours in the pre-primary, three and a half hours from grade one to three, five hours from six to eight grade, five and a half hours in nine and ten and the same for grade eleven and twelve.

The positive aspects that sound sweet to our ears of this proposed curriculum are----no examination till grade three, no public examination in grade five and eight that have been taking place for one decade by virtue of the executive order of the ministry even though it is not mentioned in the 2010 ‘Education Policy’. The proposed curriculum gives more emphasis on classroom based assessment than summative one but the question is what percentage of teachers and educational institutions are ready for it? What now happens to the students who study in science group? Many educational institutions don’t have even laboratory but the students obtain full almost full marks in practical parts. Awarding 60 marks to a student who reads in an ordinary school and awarding the same marks to a student of an established institution does mean a gulf of difference. Awarding this marks by a teacher who has deep   knowledge in a subject, pretty long experience may mean reasonable but a new, inexperienced teacher having shallow knowledge in a subject will award the same marks quite unreasonably. This kind of experience I had had in umpteen times in my teaching career. This is a reality. The curriculum should have a guideline or prescription on how to avoid or minimize this difference.

All pupils will have to study Language and Communication, Mathematics and Logic, Livelihood and Life Skills, Social and Global Citizenship, Climate and Environment, Science and Technology, Information and Communication Technology, Physical and Mental Health Safety, Values and Moral education, Arts and Culture. The subject contents will be changed and the number of books will become less and SSC examination will be held on the syllabus of class ten only, not on nine and ten together like the current practice. There will be two public examinations in the intermediate level—one in eleven class and another one in twelve class and the results of HSC will be published on the basis of combined results. It might be a good decision as we know in the eleven class students are taught first papers of all the elective subjects and in the second year second papers. When HSC examination takes place students have to sit for the examinations in all the papers after two years that seems a huge burden for them and they cannot digest all the subjects well. In the proposed system they will have less burden and time to digest the subjects.

Curriculums of many countries involve the disasters-both natural and manmade-and students are taught how to adjust themselves with those through project work. Suppose, road accident has become a common affair in our country. It does not necessarily happen only because of the carelessness of the drivers. The passersby also show negligence or ignorance towards traffic rules. They need to have clear and practical ideas about traffic rules, the meaning of the signal of traffic lights—these are very much fundamental in their own life. In recent years thunder storm is causing the death of many people. It takes place both in urban and rural areas. During the rainy season, how to take effective measures to save oneself from electrocution and primary ideas about electric goods.  Study tour need to be introduced in schools, colleges and universities as it will give them the opportunity of real and practical learning. Students have to submit reports and give presentation after visiting places of historical importance. This life orientated education has been proposed in the new curriculum.

To materialise the digital revolution or fourth industrial revolution, we must ensure quality education for our students from primary to tertiary level and technology to be included to make them skilled manpower. Only skilled manpower may not even help develop the country until and unless humanistic quality is not included in the curriculum. Sympathy and empathy and real patriotism must be inculcated in the brain of our students otherwise expected service and behaviour cannot be received from them. Moral development is a must. If any education fails to develop the morality of the learners, it does not promise to bring about real changes in the society, country and entire human community. Doing well to the entire human community along with personal and familial development is the prime objective of education. Today what we observe, the highly educated people get involved actively in serious corruption doing a catastrophic harm to the society and the country. Developing curriculum keeping all these aspects into consideration proves to be really a gigantic task. One of the definitions of education is ‘Education is the process of facilitating learning or the acquisition of knowledge, skill, values, beliefs and habits.’ In the present world education gained through either formal, non-formal or informal ways is recognised as education. Only coming and going to schools and passing the exams may not make one real educated. Education and competence stands as complementary to each other. One is crippled without the other. The introduction of ‘Learning by doing’ style may develop a bridge between the gaps lying here and the inclusion of morality must be attached to make it really meaningful. 


The writer works for Brac Education Program