Experts on Monday urged the government to increase allocation for education, noting that the primary reason for most of the problems in the sector is allocation.
They also apprehend that the dropout rate of children would go up due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Their opinions came from a webinar titled “Tackling the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Education Sector of Bangladesh” organised by South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM).
"The primary reason for most of the problems in education sector being the allocation in education, this allocation must be increased, and primary teachers must be provided with more support in terms of salary and responsibilities," said Professor Dr Syed Manzoorul Islam of Dhaka University’s English department.
SANEM’s Executive Director and Professor of Economics at DU Dr Selim Raihan conducted the webinar through video conferencing app ZOOM. Around 70 educators, students, development practitioners, researchers, and journalists joined the webinar.
"Education must not be deprioritised in the upcoming budget; rather, the allocation for education should be increased," Executive Director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) Rasheda K Choudhury said.
She expressed her concern as well that the dropout rate will increase due to the economic crisis brought forward by the current pandemic. She also pointed out that the increase in the dropout rate will increase child labour and child marriage in turn.
She expressed her concern that non-governmental teachers will face problems in getting a regular salary.
Rasheda K Choudhury said that in the post-pandemic scenario, schools and educational institutions will have to follow all health protocols, especially the guidelines provided by WHO and urged the government to start acting now in these regards.
She opined that allocation for research in tertiary education should be increased as well.
She also said that mobile service operators and internet providers must come forward in these times of crisis and provide free internet support for education.
Dr Syed Manzoorul Islam assumed that almost 30 percent of students will not be able to return to schools after the pandemic. He also expressed concern that many will face hardship in procuring educational materials and necessities.
Pointing out that online education is increasing the existing inequality in the education sector; he opined that Public-Private Partnership is necessary to address these issues.
He discussed the detrimental effects of coaching centres and the subsequent obstacles in ensuring creative education. It is necessary to stop the coaching business and implement the education policy passed by the Parliament in 2010.
Dr Islam said that to implement the education policy effectively, the Ministry of Education should seek the leadership and assistance of the youth as a more dynamic solution can be provided by them.
He made some recommendations for the speedy and smooth resumption of educational activities after the pandemic, which included redesigning of semesters and school years and cancelling JSC and PSC.
He hoped that if the youth are involved than the challenges and problems in the education sector will be overcome.
Also read: COVID-19: Online classes bring social divide to the fore
Director General of the Directorate of Primary Education Md Fashiullah described the steps taken by the government to tackle the challenges of the pandemic.
He said the government has already provided three months of stipends to students.
He informed the government’s plan to launch an Education Unit Platform which will provide students with free of cost educational services over toll-free telephone calls.
He said that With UNESCO’s support, the government has been working on a project which will conduct educational activities through radios.
"The government has already designed a recovery plan for education and provided guidelines for teachers at all levels," he said.
Associate Professor of the Institute of Education and Research of Dhaka University Dr Md Ahsan Habib said that although schools are closed, children are learning from the environment around them, which is very important.
Also read: Educational institutions to remain shut until May 30
He said Bangladesh must learn from its national experience and create a suitable plan for the education sector.
Discussing the problems and prospects of online education, he pointed out that people are becoming aware of the necessity of online education which is highly important for reform in education.
He said all should be more enthusiastic about tele-education.
The resource should not be much of a concern in conducting primary education through television, he added.
He asked guardians to be more attentive to their children and said that this is an opportunity for developing a closer bond. Guardians must be aware of their children’s mental health and provide all necessary support.
Also read: Bangladesh sees alarming spike in corona cases with 1,602 new patients, 21 deaths
In his introductory remarks, Dr Raihan briefly explained the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education sector of Bangladesh.
He pointed out the difficulties in conducting online education in the socio-economic context of Bangladesh. He stressed on the need to increase allocation for the education sector in the upcoming budget.
Discussing the hardship faced by teachers at the primary level, he pointed out that India and Sri Lanka, even some countries in Africa pay their primary teachers more than Bangladesh.
Notwithstanding numerous challenges and obstacles, Bangladesh has made a significant achievement in primary education; it is high time Bangladesh replicated that achievement in tertiary education, he said.
Also read: Educational institutions to remain closed till Sept if corona situation doesn’t improve: PM
Dr Raihan cited a research by SANEM on the impact of economic crisis on dropout rate and opined that in times of crisis, the dropout rate increases as well, and it is only plausible that the same will happen after the current pandemic. To address this issue, the government must start acting now.
The results of the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and its equivalent examinations will likely be publish in May, Dhaka Education Board Chairman Professor M Ziaul Haque said Monday.
“We are trying to publish the results this month,” he said.
The board is trying to publish the results online as all educational institutions are closed now due to coronavirus outbreak, Haque said.
This year’s SSC and its equivalent examinations under 10 education boards begun across the country on February 3.
Also read: SSC, equivalent exams begin
A total of 20,47, 779 students including 10,24,363 males and 10,23,416 females participated in the examinations this year.
Khulna district administration on Monday introduced online education on Facebook and YouTube platforms for school students as they have been staying at home for over one month and will have to continue to stay out of their schools until May 30.
Khulna Divisional Commissioner Dr Md Anwar Hossain Hawlader inaugurated the digital education programme on Monday.
Primarily, expert teachers will produce 20-minute lessons for the students of III, IV, and V.
Hawlader said this initiative will help students to develop during coronavirus pandemic.
Soon a routine will be published for the classes, he said adding that several video contents will be uploaded on regular basis so that students can enjoy and learn from home.
Khulna district administration will use the information technology with the assistance from Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Directorate and Directorate of Primary Education.
Two YouTube channels—‘Digital Secondary Education Khulna’ and ‘Digital Primary Education Khulna’ -- have been launched. Two pages have also been opened on Facebook.
Presiding over the inaugural programme, Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Helal Hossain said students will be able to express their opinions and problems on this digital platform.
Television education is one-way programme but it will be a two-way programme where students will join actively and enjoy it, he added.
He said they hope this digital platform will reduce the dependency on coaching-based education and meet the gap in education during this coronavirus.
Niva Rani Pathok, deputy director, Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Directorate, and Meherun Nesa, deputy director of Directorate of Primary Education were present among others.
Earlier on March 16, the government closed all the educational institutes to prevent the spread of coronavirus. No classes have been held since that day at school.
As the coronavirus situation worsened, on May 5, the government extended the shutdown of all educational institutions until May 30.
In the meantime, the government took initiative to broadcast lessons for students through Sangsad TV.
Coronavirus has been spreading faster in Bangladesh during the last week.
Bangladesh has so far reported 15,691 coronavirus cases and 239 deaths.
The country recorded the highest number—1,034-- new coronavirus cases in the span of 24 hours on Monday.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday published a guideline on conducting courses online in light of the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, including teaching, taking exams, their assessment as well as admission for private universities.
The guideline will be available on the UGC website and copies will be sent to private universities.
The instructions prepared by UGC can be found in the Notice section of www.ugc.gov.bd.
Private universities will be able to carry out unfinished activities (teaching, examination and assessment) of the current semester that has been affected by the pandemic online, in accordance with the guideline.
Besides, students will be able to seek admission for the next semester as well.
Earlier a virtual meeting on forming the guidelines was presided over by Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni, and attended by members of UGC, apart from representatives of public and private universities.
That came after an earlier bar on shifting the activities that had to grind to a halt into the virtual space.
State-run Sangsad TV will continue airing lessons for students of class VI to class X until May 30 as educational institutions will remain shut until then to prevent transmission of coronavirus.
The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) issued a notice in this regard on Wednesday.
The secretary told UNB that the recorded classes from the 6th grade to tenth grade will be uploaded on two YouTube channels -- Kishore Batayan and Amar Ghar Amar School.
The lessons will also be telecast from social media platform titled ‘Amar Ghare Amar School,’ the notice said adding that college students will be taught over other online medium and information technology to be arranged by respective principals.
Guardians have been directed to ensure that their children stay at home during this closure of education institutions until May 30 for their safety from coronavirus infection.
Earlier on Tuesday, the government announced that all educational institutions in Bangladesh will remain shut until May 30.
Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Directorate issued a notice in this regard.
Bangladesh extended the ongoing general holidays until May 15.
The country has recorded 11,719 coronavirus cases and 187 deaths as of Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the country reported its highest daily new coronavirus cases on Wednesday with the detection of 790 patients.