Shortage of good English language teachers in rural schools is a significant factor that results in an increase in gap between education of urban and of rural students, educationalists say.
‘Most schools in rural area are suffering from an English teacher shortage,’ Amir Farukh Talukder, the headmaster of Nurpur Adarsha High School in Habiganj, told New Age.
‘In my school, there is no specialised English teacher. Teachers of other subjects teach English. The condition of other schools in the area is more or less the same,’ he said.
Moin Uddin, the headmaster of Shap Chari High School in Rangamati, told New Age that the reason why students from rural areas fared poorly compared with urban students was that ‘students from rural areas mainly failed in English and maths.’
‘The shortage of English teachers contributed to poor performance of rural schools,’ he said. ‘Almost every rural school has shortage of English teachers. It is not possible to improve the quality of education in rural areas without increasing the number of teachers and developing the infrastructure.’
The Junior School Certificate exams results published on December 30 showed that students outside Dhaka did far less well in the exams.
While students under the Dhaka education board had a pass rate of 80.58, under the Comilla board the pass rate was 73.56, under the Chittagong board, it was 70.26, under the Rajshahi board the pass rate was 63, under the Jessore board it was 62.45, under the Dinajpur board it was 62.18 and under the Sylhet board the pass rate was 61.97
Students under the Barisal education board were, however, an exception with a pass rate of 81.75.
The number of students scoring GPA 5 was also higher in Dhaka than in areas outside the capital.
Under the Dhaka education baord, 3,218 students scored GPA 5, under the Rajshahi board 1,508 students, under the Dinajpur board 763 students, under the Jessore board 740, under the Comilla board 624, under the Chittagong board 518, under the Barisal board 478, and under the Sylhet board 203 students scored GPA 5.
Teachers of rural schools said that in many schools, no student at all could score GPA 5.
‘It is a social problem. The poor results of rural schools indicate a class division in the education sector. Nowadays well-to-do families do not want to stay in rural areas. As result, it is only children of comparatively poor families that stay in the rural schools,’ said Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury.
‘If children of well-to-do families had studied in rural schools, such schools would have got good teachers and good infrastructure,’ he added. ‘Schools in rural areas must be improved.’
The education minister, Nurul Islam Nahid, said, ‘The education ministry is working to bring about equality in education in rural and urban areas. We have taken various measures to bridge the gap between the education standards of rural and urban areas,’
‘But, it is not possible overnight and it will take time,’ he said.