Thursday, June 13, 2024

Govt pry schools in dire straits

Government primary schools across the country are failing to provide students with quality education as the schools do not have adequate teachers and infrastructure, parents and teachers say.
This continued deterioration of the standard of education in the schools left the guardians with no option but to send their children to kindergartens and English-medium schools for high tuition fees.
Only the guardians who cannot manage expenses for kindergartens send their children to government primary schools.
‘If you visit any government primary school, you will understand why parents do not send their children to such schools. The school building remains dirty; benches are not adequate. The number of teachers is not enough and so on,’ said Mofizul Islam, a guardian at Badda in Dhaka.
‘You hardly find any middle-income group children studying in this school. Mostly rickshaw pullers, day-labourers and the low-income group people send their children to such schools,’ he said.
There are about 37,000 public primary schools where about 213,600 teachers teach about 16.5 million students. Most of the schools are in rural areas.
Abdul Barek, a guardian at Uttara, said, ‘As only the poor send their children to such schools, the government has no headache about improving the standards of education in the schools.’
Dhaka University professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury said, ‘It is frustrating that government
primary schools do not have adequate teachers and infrastructures. ‘If the situation does not change, chances of education for children from poor families will shrink further.’
‘It is alarming…If children from the poor section are deprived of standard education, it will lead to a social problem…,’ he said.
He urged government to take steps to improve the standard of education in the registered primary schools.
Dhaka University Institute of Education Research professor Siddiqur Rahman said, ‘Millions of people in this country cannot afford the tuition fees some private schools charge. If we cannot improve the quality of education in public schools, children of the poor section will be deprived of the education.’
In Dhour Government Primary School, just a few miles from the directorate of primary education, pre-primary classes are held on the school veranda.
‘We do not have rooms and so we hold pre-primary classes on the school veranda,’ the headmaster of the school said.
The school has 470 students and there are four classrooms and eight teachers.
Students of Kazifari Government Primary School at Mirpur in Dhaka cannot pay attention on their study as a slum is located just beside the school. The school playground is also occupied by slum dwellers.
Eight teachers teach 1100 students in five classrooms at Kazifari School. Students and teachers said that classes could not be held on time for shortage of classrooms.
In Nababerbagh Government Primary School, students cannot pay attention to their study in the rainy season as it rains through the roof. Seven teachers teach 800 students in six classrooms in the school.
Students and teachers said that they could not do classes in the summer as most fans in the school are out of order.
Parents of students of rural primary schools said much the same. Most of these schools also do not have proper water and sanitation facilities.
The headteacher of Nujhuri Government Primary School at Bhaluka in Mymensingh, Helena Khatun, said that the condition of the school building was so bad that she feared it might collapse any time. Four teachers teach around 200 students in the school.
‘During the rainy season, attending classes is impossible as it rains through the roof,’ said Moushumi, a Class V student of the school.
A student of Nijhuri Government Primary School said that they could use toilet as there is only one toilet but it is not in a good condition.
‘If we had any alternative, we would not send our children to government schools,’ said Abdul Baten, a grocery shop owner at Bhaluka in Mymensingh.
An official of the primary education directorate admitted to New Age that the condition of most rural schools was the same. Many schools do not have proper water and sanitation facilities, he said.
The government, however, claimed that it had significantly increased the number of teachers in the three years since the government came to power.
‘The situation is improving. We have increased the number of teachers in these schools and more teachers will be recruited,’ the director general of the primary education directorate, Shyamal Kanti Ghosh, told New Age.
The directorate’s director (operations) Faruque Jalil claimed that the student-teacher ratio in government primary schools had been 1 to 57 in the past.
It is now 1 to 47 as the government has recruited 60,000 more teachers in three years, he said.
The development in the education sector cannot be seen overnight but the implication will be understood as time goes on, he added.

-With New Age input

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