Wednesday, 1 February, 2023

Preparing Creative Questions

Teachers lay bare their incompetence

Experts for more training, changing mindset

  • Rajib Kanti Roy
  • 26 November, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Many teachers have failed to prove their competence in formulating creative questions of examinations even after 14 years of the introduction of the system.

They are preparing contentious questions, which is sparking controversy and raising concern among students, guardians and educationists.

The creative education system was introduced in the country in 2008. But after all these years, 44.75 percent teachers still cannot prepare question papers under the method, according to the latest academic supervision report prepared by the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE).

They formulate questions with the help of other teachers or buy questions from elsewhere.

Even 35 percent teachers have no training in curriculum and 38 percent in the creative system, the report says.

Another research conducted by Prof SM Hafizur Rahman of Dhaka University’s Institute of Education and Research has found that some 60 percent teachers are unable to formulate creative questions.

“Teachers are very reluctant to formulate questions. It is mainly due to the easy availability of creative question papers through teachers’ associations. And those who are making questions are also not able to do it properly. That’s why questions prepared by them are stirring controversy,” he said.

The issue of teachers’ incompetence in setting creative questions has surfaced again as the presence of errors and insensitive topics was found in question papers of different public examinations, including Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC).

                In the HSC Bangla first paper question paper under Dhaka Education Board, a creative question involved the story of two Hindu brothers in loggerheads over a land dispute and a Muslim man. The story had strong communal connotation and hurt the religious sentiment of both Hindu and Muslim communities.

Some 41 spelling mistakes were found in Chattogram Education Board’s Bangla first paper question.

Controversy also arose centring on the question of Bangla second paper of HSC examination under Technical Education Board. In the question, a reputed author of the country was demeaned and humiliated.

In another stimulant of the same question paper, a gender-insensitive story on an unmarried female teacher shocked students.

Former Director General of DSHE Syed Golam Faruk blamed the incompetence of teachers and their narrow mindset for this situation. “We aren’t talking about technical aspects or structures of the questions that have been criticised. We’re raising questions about the subject matter or the thoughts. This is not taught in training. Training highlights technical aspects,” he said.

“The main problem lies in their attitude and mindset,” he said, adding that there is no alternative to training teachers properly.

Teachers are trained under the Secondary Education Sector Development Programme (SESDP) and Secondary Education Sector Investment Programme (SESIP) to enhance their efficiency in various subject areas in creative ways.

Requesting anonymity, a teachers’ leader and headmaster of a government high school in Dhaka told the Daily Sun that three-day training is given to teachers in creative questions.

According to him, the first day is spent just practising rules and breaking inertia. The discussion on the second day is very inadequate while on the third day, teachers are busy accepting travel allowance and saying goodbye to others. “Is it an acceptable way of training teachers?”

Executive Director of Campaign for Popular Education Rasheda K Choudhury described this lump as personal. “Teachers’ mentality and thoughts come into question. They and moderators working behind formulating questions need to change their attitude and mindset. Their competence must be developed through training,” she said.

However, Inter-Education Coordinating Board President and Dhaka Education Board Chairman Tapan Kumar Sarkar differed with Rasheda, saying mistakes that are being made cannot be fixed through only training.

He underscored the need for taking action against the teachers for formulating such questions. “We have to identify the teachers and moderators involved in formulating such questions. If they’re punished, other teachers will remain alert in this regard. Only then there won’t be repetition of such practice,” he said.

Tapan also put emphasis on changing the mindset of teachers.