In recent years, there has been a great tendency of pride and relief among the government, teachers and parents in increasing the passing rate and obtaining higher GPA. In this case, if the government had emphasized on quality and standard education instead of 100% pass or education, it would have carried a positive message for the country, the nation and future generations.
While a large number of these students who have passed the secondary and higher secondary examinations are failing out the public university admission test, the question naturally arises as to the quality and standard of education. Not only that, due to quality education and research, our country's universities are also lagging behind the global standards and rankings, which is really discomforting and questioning our education system.
However, education is a very important aspect for the development of a country. The higher the rate and quality of education, the more economically advanced the country is, that is why special emphasis has been placed on quality education under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)-2030. The goal of long-term and sustainable development is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all and to create opportunities for lifelong learning worldwide.
But in the last few decades in our country, the participation rate of both boys and girls in primary, secondary and higher education has increased unprecedentedly, the rate of education has also flourished and at the same time the number of universities starting from primary school has also increased significantly.
Along with formal education, non-formal education has also come a long way in advancing primary education. In view of all this, it can be said that the quantitative development of education in the country has been a lot, but the qualitative development has not been so much. Various studies have shown that the quality of qualification of most students is very disappointing.
The plight of secondary education is similar to that of primary education. Although the number and rate of students is increasing, Bangladesh is lagging behind in achieving the goals and objectives of real education. The same is true of madrasa education, the situation in the field of higher education in the country is also not promising. In fact, theoretical trends are predominant in all levels of education, which is not a matter of relief for us at all.
Quality education ensures the economic prosperity of the country, builds a productive, socially competent and efficient human race, ensures an environment conducive to justice, non-discrimination, cooperation and tolerance. Good education is able to ensure social peace and stability by accelerating physical fitness, morality and creativity.
The main way to ensure quality education is to hire quality or talented teachers. In order to improve the quality of education, it is vital to appoint quality teachers with good educational qualifications on the basis of transparency. The provision of basic and thematic training for all teachers, on-the-job training for working teachers and at the same time ensuring proper status of teachers must ensure their basic rights and professional independence with adequate pay.
But lately, there are widespread allegations that teachers are recruited from low to high levels of education in our country through financial transactions, nepotism and opaque processes, which is an ominous sign for our education system. Due to this many talented people fail to get employment despite having proper qualifications and talents and this is a huge challenge and threat for quality education.
Quality education is not limited to teachers, schools, books, students or classrooms nor is it a systematic component. Because quality education is considered a prerequisite for overall development, with which the activities of the school are intimately involved. Quality education helps students to unravel various moral and spiritual inherent qualities.
On the one hand, it encourages children to develop from superstition to science-minded and culture-minded, on the other hand, it boosts students' confidence, and drives students towards higher education through acquiring proper skills and marginal qualifications. It is important to make the students' next level of learning useful, including thematic knowledge, development of life skills, qualitative change of attitude and social awareness.
Acquiring action and life oriented education is really quality education. In the National Education Policy-2010, it has been said that in order to achieve economic and social progress of the country, education must be made creative, vocal and practical. Students need to be made respectful and interested in labor and able to acquire skills in vocational education with a view to employment at various levels of education. But in our country creative education system has been introduced without proper infrastructure and training of teachers.
As a result, it has created a haphazard situation, and many say it has become a quantitative factor, not an increase in the quality of education. Moreover, we need to think about the extent to which our universities are offering higher degrees in real life. In the educational institutions of our country, more emphasis is being laid on biblical or theoretical education instead of practical and vocational education.
The high aspirations that are being created in the youth after getting higher education, when they are not able to fulfill it, is giving birth to a frustration in them. Day by day our traditional education system is increasing the number of frustrated youth. As a result, these frustrated people are often going astray, creating an unstable environment in the society. But if our education system was able to produce skilled manpower respecting labor, we would be able to develop into a self-reliant nation in a very short time.
However, recently students are becoming interested in studying technical education. We have to teach our children through the education system that agriculture, animal husbandry, pottery, weaving, fisheries, etc. are not small jobs. There is a Japanese proverb that says, "If you give me a fish, you will make me eat fish one day." But if you teach me fishing techniques, it means you'll give me a lifetime of fishing."
More investment is an important factor in quality education. Despite Bangladesh being a developing country, the allocation of funds in the education sector is insufficient. The actual investment in the education sector in the country is less than the demand and the per capita annual investment in education and health is US$ 5 in Bangladesh, US$ 10 in Sri Lanka, US$ 14 in India, US$ 150 in Malaysia and US$ 160 in South Korea.
Compared to the SAARC countries, the allocation for the overall education sector in the national budget of Bangladesh is only 0.92 percent and the allocation for the higher education sub-sector is only 0.12 percent, which is much less than the SAARC countries. Education in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and Nepal accounted for 4.5 and 3.5 percent of GDP, respectively. For this reason, experts believe that the current national allocation for higher education should be increased from 0.92 to 2 percent by 2026 and 6 percent by 2030, respectively.
In addition, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, it is necessary to take necessary steps to increase the current allocation of the national budget in the education sector from 8 to 15 percent. According to UNESCO's recommendations, developing countries like Bangladesh need to allocate 7% of GDP to education.
Although education is the main means of human resource development, funding for education in the country is still disappointing. A report by the UNESCO International Education Commission for the 21st Century, or the Delores Commission of UNESCO, recommends that 25 percent of foreign aid received from developing countries be invested in education.
Some general prerequisites need to be met for quality education and sustainability, these are integrated education without discrimination, modern and international standard curriculum, quality and professionally committed teachers, retaining talented people in teaching with necessary opportunities, terror free campus, eradication of corruption and waste of investment and more investment in education. The quality and level of quality education depends on fulfilling these prerequisites.
Quality education is an important topic in today's context. It continues to attract the attention of educators in both the developed world and the developing world. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has highlighted the concept and importance of quality education in the context of sustainable development, that is why the government, teachers and parents should focus on quality education instead of quantity.
Md Zillur Rahaman is a Banker and Freelance Columnist