Clouds hover over education policy

Cloud is shrouding over the Education Act draft, banning private tuition, coaching, all kinds of note-guides and supportive books, as it has not been finalised.
Keeping in view to enhance the capacity to learn and a lifelong willingness to face new things, in September 2017, the education ministry finalized the Education Act draft. It has proposed banning private tuition, coaching, and all kinds of note-guides, and supportive books.

A special meeting in this regard was held at the Education Ministry on Wednesday. Anyone who would be found involved in providing private tuition or coaching will face punishment, said top officials of the ministry. According to the ministry sources, the draft has been finalised after consulting with the primary and mass education ministry and the madrasa education board. The draft act will be sent for cabinet approval soon, they added.

As it is needed to equip people to move away from sporadic education and towards lifelong learning, the education secretary said the education ministry supports banning private tuition, coaching, note-guides, practice or supportive books. According to the education ministry, a committee was formed in January, 2011 to finalise the draft of the Education Act after the education policy was announced in 2010.

According to the draft, all kinds of coaching centres will be banned after the act is passed. Running any kind of coaching centre or tuition will be a punishable offence. If anyone commits this crime, he or she will have to face a fine of up to Tk 200,000 and jail term for six months or both. No teacher can offer private tuition to students. If the teacher belongs to a government institution, he or she will have to face disciplinary action. If the teacher belongs to a private institution, he or she will be terminated, reads the draft act.

Teachers, however, can provide tuition or take additional classes upon receiving prior permission from their respective heads of the institutions. As per the draft act, ‘private tuition’ means teaching outside of one’s own institution in exchange of money. The draft act slaps a ban on printing, publishing, packaging, and marketing of note-guide books. Publishing these books will be regarded as a punishable crime and the violators will face a fine of Tk 500,000 or a one year jail or both.

The draft also says the students will not be subjected to any form of mental and physical punishment at the educational institutions. Every institution should preserve its detailed description and publish it on its website. When contacted, additional secretary of the ministry of education Chowdhury Mufad Ahmed said the draft act is a brief one. Details will be found in its rules.

The present government has formulated a full-fledged education policy to improve the standard of education. The policy will develop the overall standard of education in the country, he said. Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni said the task of formulating separate policies for students with autism and other differently able students is at the final stage. The two education policies will be formulated amending the disability related integrated special education policy 2009.

The 1979 Education Policy was framed to initiate a process of far-reaching structural changes in the quality and quantity of education besides introducing reforms to harmonize the system with global standards, she said. Following the footsteps of Bangabandhu, the Awami League, after assuming power in 1996, took measures for an inclusive education system involving physically challenged and remote areas children and formed the education commission to formulate an education policy, she continued.

The education policy finally was formulated in accordance with the Qudrat- e-Khuda Education Commission in 2009 as the Awami League came to power for the second term and started its execution in 2011. Prominent citizens, educationists, teachers, guardians and officials at all levels of education administration want to halt the banned note-guides and coaching trade, and an end to the illegal education trade.

The National Education Policy 2010 calls for the implementation of the 'Education Act' for the implementation of this policy. It has been said that the law will ban all forms of illegal education trade, including note-guide books and coaching centres. Ministry of Education sources said the draft education law is now being revised. All the laws and regulations relating to education have been collected, which are being reviewed.

The Ministry of Education recently appointed two consultants (former additional secretary Chowdhury Mufad Ahmed and former secretary Kazi Habibul Awal) to finalize the draft law in line with existing laws and regulations. The draft law will then be sent back to the cabinet for approval. Minister of Education Dr Dipu Moni said on April 10, that the draft law will be finalized this year. “There are many laws on education in the country. If the proposed law comes into conflict with existing laws then it will be difficult to enforce it. That is why we are examining the matter with the help of consultants so that the law does not collide with the other laws.”

More than eight years have elapsed, the ministry has not yet been able to finalize the draft law mainly due to lack of foresightedness in drafting, not taking into account the existing laws related to education, ignoring the views of academics and the negligence of the drafters. In response to a question, a senior member of the Committee on Education Implementation Committee, formed in 2010, has expressed disappointment over the issue. “The education laws of so many countries have been collected through us. We worked, but the law has not yet been in place”, he said.

Member Secretary of the Education Policymaking Committee and former Director General of the National Education Management Academy (Naeem), educationist Dr. Sheikh Ikramul Kabir said, that the principle of education is the law. Initiatives were made to eliminate the shortcomings of the existing education system and to bring the education system under a single framework.

“But time and again it is being interrupted due to bureaucratic complexities. We have many achievements in the education sector, but these achievements will not be able to deliver goods if we cannot implement the education policy fully. Our Prime Minister is very aware of education. The new minister will certainly look into it”, he added. “We wanted a unified education law. But we are disappointed.” said Kazi Farooq Ahmed, leader of the National Education Policy 2010 Formulation Committee.