Ranking of educational institutions plays an important role to provide students, guardians, institutions, and governments with valuable information to help them make informed decisions about student enrolment and provide a way to compare institutions, benchmark performance, identify areas for improvement, and promote a culture of excellence. It encourages a healthy internal dialogue regarding an institution’s overall performance. It is a management tool to effect strategic, organisational, managerial and academic change. Ranking educational institutions can be important starting points to identify institutions with which to collaborate and partner. Having a highly ranked partner can, in turn, improve an institution’s reputation. Ranking also impacts discussions about, and collection of, comparative data on both a national and institutional level, and encourage not only the collection, but also the publication of data to the public. In Bangladesh, the culture of ranking educational institutions particularly schools and colleges does not appear as an effective management step even though it can provide a good amount of information to all concerned and also can make the institutions aware of their own performance and stance. Ranking can sensitise them that only public examination results cannot be taken as the only yardstick to colour an educational institution with the ‘best’ performer. Several other factors that contribute to happening real quality education must be taken into consideration. Many educational institutions enrol students who could not show their expected performance in the prevalent education system. But the institutions nurture them differently at the cost of huge patience and sacrifice to turn raw students into good humans inculcating all the important human aspects. All this should come within the purview of quality education as curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular aspects contribute to making an individual perfectly educated. Keeping all these points in view, Dainikshiksha.com, a popular news portal has started ranking all categories of educational institutions of Bangladesh with its perfect professional touch. Its first ranking results were published on 04 August, 2023. This time only intermediate colleges of the city of Dhaka brought under the ranking process where seven colleges fall into A+ category and 36 belong to A and 19 colleges go to B category and seven colleges are in the C category. On the basis of 21 criteria, the intermediate colleges of the city of Dhaka were surveyed and the colleges which have obtained minimum 85 percent marks fall into the A+ category, 75 percent to 84 percent go to A category, 65 percent to 74 percent go to B category, 50 percent to 64 percent go to C category and less than 50 percent fall into D category. However, from 277 colleges, 69 were sampled where D category was not available. Of course, D category (seriously weak) colleges exist in the city.
Educational institutions occupy the most significant place in any society, though everywhere they are not properly evaluated, its significance exists itself. Established, well-established professionals have come through educational institutions. So, the guardians become busy enough to get their wards enrolled after passing the SSC examination in a quality college that will ensure better results and finally make the base strong to lead them into good human being. Traditionally, the colleges which show better results in public examinations are considered in the society as best institutions and the teachers receive the credit. In this perspective, we hardly think of other areas of education to make a student human being, a complete being, which really contribute a lot to shape him as a perfect human being. Becoming only a doctor or an engineer, agriculturist, teacher, administration does not necessarily mean they have received exactly perfect education. Whatever profession they choose, they must think of humanity, serving the people, serving the country and the supreme sacrifice they can make for humanity and country. If we can build up such type of humans by giving them not only academic education, they need extra and co-curricular activities. To arrange such type of teachers we need to see how many of our educational institutions offer these facilities and how they are receiving benefits and how these entities serve to develop the character, bloom creativity and widen their knowledge in the true sense of the term. Many institutions have big buildings, enviable results and a good number of students go for higher education. We need to see whether these are enough to give a tag to the institutions as best or a model.
A group of students from IER, Dhaka University, education experts and researchers were actively involved in the entire process. Before going to the field, they were given several orientation sessions and a question-answer session were held. Before that, a series of meetings highlighting the issue were held. Opinions were sought and ideas were shared with the educational experts and all sorts of stakeholders of education both at home and abroad. To sensitise the educational institutions, SMCs, relevant government agencies (divisional education office, DGs, we think the idea of labelling an institution as model or best will be changed. And these authorities will take measures to change their existing situation. That means, a sound and healthy competition will start among them for developing the real quality of education.
The implications of this study may be that the teachers, educational institutions and all concerned will be aware of their own stance in the field of education and institutions will bring about strategic and academic change internally. They will also attach importance to extra and co-curricular activities along with academic affairs as the ranking process serves as an authentic certification and necessary feedback for further development of the areas of quality education.
The writer is President, English Teachers’ Association of Bangladesh (ETAB)