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Growth Strategies in Secondary Education: Interface Between Government and Non- Government Initiatives in Bangladesh Fazle Kabir, Joint Secretary, MOE, Bangladesh

  • International Seminar on
  • Growth Strategies for Secondary Education in Asia. Kuala Lumpur, 19-21 September, 2005.

Country Profile

  • Bangladesh is semi-tropical riverine country with monsoon climate;
  • Location: Between 20o and 26o north latitude & 88o and 93o east longitude
  • Total Area: 147,570sq.km
  • Boundary: North, West & East – India, Southeast – Myanmar, South – Bay of Bengal
  • Population: 133.4 million; density 900 persons /sq.km.(highest in the world). 22% of the population live in urban areas while the rest 78% live in 86000 villages. Population growth rate is 1.4%
  • Some Socio-Economic Indicators
  • GDP growth rate at constant price 5.5.
  • Per Capita income at current price US$ 440.
  • Adult literacy rate is 54.8;female 48.9 & male 60.3
  • Access to safe drinking water (% pop.) 97.90
  • Principal crops & fruits: rice, tea, pulses, spices, vegetables, banana, jackfruit, mango & coconut.
  • 62.3% of labour force are involved in agriculture farming, poultry & livestock rearing, small business & fishing.
  • Average life expectancy for male is 60.1 yrs. and female 60.9 yrs. while child mortality rate is 56 per thousand births.

Education System In Bangladesh

  • Three streams of education exist in Bangladesh:
  • General Stream:
  • This stream consists of three tiers.
  • Primary, grade-I to grade-V
  • (6–10 years age group) This stage is compulsory, free and universal.
  • There are 78,363 primary schools of which 37,671 are run in the public sector.
  • Others are run in the private sector & by NGOs.
  • b) Secondary: There are around 17000 secondary level schools for about 8.18m students of which 317 are run in the public sector and the others in the private sector.
  • c) Tertiary level: There are 75 universities in the country of which 53 are in the private sector and 22 in the public sector. There are 900 degree level colleges of which 241 are in public sector. The Bangladesh Open University established in 1992 (distant learning) enrolled 0.5 million students in 2004.
  • ii. Religious (Madrasha) Education stream :
  • This stream was introduced as a formal education system during the British colonial rule in 1780. This stream also has the primary ( ebtedayee) tier, secondary and tertiary levels. At present there are 8737 Madrashas from secondary to tertiary level enrolling a total of 3.4m students of which 46.8% are female. Total no. of teachers stand at 0.12m of which only 6.5% are female. The government has
  • recognized madrasha degree up to higher secondary (grade XII) level as they have incorporated core curriculum subjects of the general stream.
  • iii. Technical Educational Stream:
  • This stream can be broadly divided into three
  • type of education.
  • Vocational & Technical Education
  • Agricultural Education
  • Medical Education (tertiary level)
  • iv. There are also private schools mainly in
  • metropolitan cities who follow the GCE (O & A
  • Level), International Baccalaureate, etc. curricula.
  • 3. New Trends in Secondary Education in
  • Bangladesh.
  • With a view to improving the quality and relevance of secondary education, Government has developed a medium term policy agenda. Some of the initiatives are as follows:

3.1 Non-Government Teachers Registration and Certification Authority (NTRCA)

  • Traditionally teachers of secondary schools & colleges are recruited by the School Managing Committees (SMCs) & College Governing Bodies.
  • In order to recruit qualified and competent teachers Government has established Non-Government Teachers Registration and Certification Authority (NTRCA).
  • NTRCA is one of the important component of the Education Sector Adjustment Credit Programme of the World Bank.

3.2 New Unitrack Curriculum For Grades IX-X

  • The new curriculum includes a common core of seven compulsory subjects (Bangla, English, Maths, General Science, Social Science, Business studies, Religious Studies) plus one optional subject from among ICT, Agriculture and Home economics.
  • The new curriculum will be introduced in January 2006 to prepare the students to face the global challenge of the 21st century.

3.3 Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Examination Reforms

  • A new examination pattern will be introduced for the SSC exams in 2008; reduced proportion of MCQ and introduction of alternative question styles (structured question) to replace the current narrative (essay type) questions.

3.4 New Teacher Training Programmes

  • Initiatives have been taken for the enhancement of secondary teacher training to support the planned improvement in secondary education.
  • A new Bachelor of Education course has been designed aiming at improving the quality of classroom instruction which will be introduced in academic year 2006-07 in all TTCs.

3.5 Privatization of Textbooks

  • Privatization of secondary textbooks has already been started. Presently the primary and secondary level curriculum preparation and textbook printing is being done by the Govt. run NCTB.
  • Privatization of Textbooks will enable the students to have a wider range of choice of textbooks, and consequently an access to improved texts of international standards.
  • Under the new system all books are closely vetted through and Independent Textbook Evaluation Committee (ITEC).

3.5 Enactment of Non-Government Teachers and Employees Retirement Benefit Act

  • With a view to retaining and attracting quality teachers at non-government institutions, the governments has implemented “Non-Government Teachers and Employees Retirement Benefit Act 2002.”
  • This has imbued a sense of old age insurance for the Non-Government Teachers thereby increasing their output.

3.6 Amendments in School Managing Committee (SMC)and College Governing Body (CGB)Formations

  • The government has amended the 1977 regulation on SMC and CGB of the non-government schools and colleges.
  • Representation of local educationists, retired government officials and women has been ensured by this amendments.

4.1 Balance Between General and Vocational Education

  • Enrolment in Secondary level is heavily lopsided in favour of general education. Only 2.5 to 3% of the secondary enrolment is in technical & vocational education.
  • There has been an increasing enrolment trend in 2004 in the area of Business Management course at the secondary level (grade XI-XII)
  •  

4.2 Enrolment in Different Streams of Secondary Education-2003

4.3 Important initiatives for readjusting the balance between general and vocation education.

  • Vocationalising general education by introducing basic trade as an optional subject for secondary school/madrasha students.
  • Introducing formal vocational stream in the secondary and higher secondary levels by creating formal vocational education branch (59 trades).
  • Business management course has been introduced in the higher secondary level (Grade XI-XII).
  • The previously conducted 2-year textile certificate course has been upgraded to a 4-year diploma textile course.

4.4 Skills Generation for Women

  • Establishment of three Female Polytechnic institutes under development budget of MOE.
  • Quota reservation for female students in technical and vocational courses.
  • Female-favourite technologies and trades like computer, electronics, garments etc.
  • Introduction of Business Management course at grade XI-XII.
  • Vocational programme is being introduced in 500 non-government secondary schools at grade IX-X, 250 of which are girls’ schools.

4.5 Changes in Technician Education

  • Double shift has been introduced in Polytechnics and Monotechnics.
  • Syllabus have been modernized to meet the requirements of the upgrading the diploma courses from 3 to 4 years.
  • The new syllabus contains higher percentage of social and inter-personal skill content.

5. Teacher Preparations and Professional Development

  • The government of Bangladesh with the financial assistance of ADB and CIDA has undertaken a project titled Teaching Quality Improvement in Secondary Education Project (TQI-SEP).
  • The project objective is to improve the quality of secondary education through in-service teachers training.
  • Enhancement of professional competence and quality of teachers, trainers and concerned officials.

5.1 Teacher Preparations and Professional Development

  • The TQI-SEP will impart training to 100,000 untrained teachers.
  • 50,000 new teachers will be recruited over the next 5 years.
  • Over 200,000 serving teachers will be benefited from the professional (subject based) development programmes.

6. Use of ICT

  • IT education has been introduced in the SSC & HSC levels since over a decade ago.
  • There is a National Academy for Computer Training and Research (NACTR) and a Computer Institute under the Ministry of Education offering 4-year Diploma in IT.
  • 31 Training centres including TTCs, Polytechnic Institutes, NACTR, BMTTI, BIAM have been imparting Computer training to the teachers.
  • Government has launched a programme to distribute 100,000 computers to 20,000 secondary schools.

7. Labour Market Demand And Competencies

  • Courses on Agriculture, Livestock, Fishery, Textile, Printing, Leather, Information technology has been introduced in SSC (voc) & HSC(Voc) programmes trades with overlapping tasks have been clustered and named accordingly.
  • The Govt. is providing facilities for skills generation for women to contribute to the domestic and international job markets.

8. Financing the provision of secondary education through public private partnership

  • Education is the largest recipient of budgetary funds in combined Annual Development Program (ADP) and annual non-development (revenue) budgets. Total government expenditure on education is currently about 2.3 percent of GDP and nearly 14 percent of total Government spending.

8.1 National Budget and Allocation in Education Sector (In Billion Taka)

8.2 Number of Public and Non-Government Secondary Schools

8.3 Number and Percentage of Students of Secondary Schools

8.4 Enrolment in Different Streams of Secondary Education-2003

8.5 Percentage of Institution from Secondary and Upwards

8.6 Private-Public Partnership

  • 98% of the secondary educational institutions are non-government.
  • Almost 100% of the institutions initially started by private individuals.
  • The private education entrepreneurs have to register a plot of land (at least 0.5 acre) in the name of the institution and then start the school in makeshift structures.
  • Later on the government intervenes to construct academic buildings & other facilities and also provide necessary teaching aids.

8.6 Private-Public Partnership

  • Government constructs infrastructure and other facilities under Annual Development Programme (ADP).
  • ADP allocation to education sector has been increasing over the years.

8.7 ADP Allocation in Education Sector

8.8 Monthly Pay Order (MPO) subvention towards salary of non- government schoolteachers

  • MPO subvention was started by the Govt. in 1980.
  • The rate of subsidy was 50% initially.
  • The objective of MPO subvention is to retain quality teachers at non-government school.
  • The MPO has been increased to 90% of the basic salary of the teachers and employees.
  • During FY 2004-05 26 billion Taka was spent for MPO; 21 billion Taka was spent for secondary and higher secondary level non-government teachers and employees and the rest was spent for Primary level.

8.9 MPO subvention

8.10 Free Female Secondary Education

  • Government launched Nationwide Female Stipend Program with the help of the World Bank, ADB and NORAD.
  • Eligible girls receive stipends as per provisions at a varying rate for different classes.
  • Presently 4 development projects are implementing the Female Stipend Programme.
  • A total of 2 billion Taka was spent as female stipend under ADP 2004-05.

9 Conclusion

  • The initiatives and programmes undertaken by the Government in the secondary education arena over the last decade and a half have contributed favourably towards its efforts to raise the country from the level of low human development to a significantly higher level.
  • The development of secondary and technical education in Bangladesh has contributed significantly towards converting the huge population into human resources.
          • Thank You


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