The Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the ministry of Planning recently released a report on Secondary Education Sector Development Project (SESDP). Eight hundred crore taka for introducing creative questions in the secondary level has gone to water. Still the teachers, students and guardians are worried of this system though it was introduced eight years back. It has been introduced in the PSC, JSC, SSC and HSC level examinations giving only three days training to few selected teachers who themselves did not perceive the idea clearly but they cascaded the idea among other teachers resulting in very poor understanding among the teachers. As an upshot of it, all the students, teachers and guardians have become fully dependent on note and guide books available in the market for developing questions, learning the idea and even teaching in the classroom. According to the reports sixty percent students hasn’t grasped the system yet. A similar kind of report was released by Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education under the Ministry of Education earlier this year.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Bangladesh jointly financed the project at a cost of eight hundred crore taka (eighty million) to bring about a positive and qualitative change in the primary and secondary levels as they form the basic stages of educating the nation. It was expected that the students would be more creative and the teaching and learning situation would be suitably easier to them but the reality stands far apart from this expectation. To this day both students and teachers are fully depended on the note and guidebooks of the market, though they are not allowed to be sold openly. Coaching centers and private tuition have come up to give some relief to the students and guardians as teachers fail to make them understand the real way of a creative system. Students have lost interest in the classroom as they hardly get the answers of their queries regarding creative questions. Similarly, teachers are losing interest in the matter because of it being difficult. Teachers develop questions with the help from note and guide books or directly copy the questions from there. Thus coaching centers have gained momentum due to these existing loopholes.
The present ‘creative system’ is basically the structured question based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. The decision makers probably did not think of whether the theory could be applied for all subjects. All the four stages such as understanding, perception, application and higher order skill of Bloom’s Taxonomy can be applied equally in Bengali, Mathematics, Social Science or other subjects were not considered with proper planning. The scattered observation, research in small scale and assumption raises the question of whether the authorities thought of it. The present system is absolutely a structured question system as things are controlled, guided and directed by a question in each question paper. Students are to answer them accordingly. Can we, however, call them ‘creative questions’? Creative means students must do something of their own. Again, the stem used in the question is another kind of problem. Most teachers cannot develop or discover stem properly. And setting stems does not always talk about creativity. They just tell the similarity of two situations which is not necessarily creative question.
What sort of difference has been made through the introduction of creative system in the country in the primary or secondary level calls for extensive observation and true professional research. No authentic research has been conducted so far. The project or the ministry must have strong research wing or a third party should be invited to conduct the research in the greater interest of the nation that is not happening truly.
What percentage of teachers has formed transparent idea about this system? A research should be conducted on whether the existing teachers teaching in the secondary level are competent enough to teach the topics creatively, develop creative questions and assess the creativity of the students either through formative assessment or summative assessment.
Things must be considered and reviewed whether the way and method the government used to bring the teachers under ‘creative system training program’. Here teachers too have some responsibilities regarding the very fact if they can grasp the system well. Only government training cannot ensure all the teachers’ sound idea about this system.
Examination questions for both internal and public examinations should also be seen, considered and analyzed to see whether they reflect a ‘creative system’. It is a must whether the question paper really reflects creativity of the students and a sound suggestion and recommendation should be made by a professional group. Questions are framed, trimmed and controlled in the name of creativity that should not be allowed to continue for the real betterment of our future generation. A portion of the country or area should be brought under survey or research rigorously to gauze the reasons whether the existing creative system really gives benefit to the students and our system. The sample should be chosen very carefully so that it can give the real picture of this field and the authorities can take necessary measures. The sooner it could be done, the better.
The writer works for BRAC Education Programme