Education Governance in Bangladesh

This traditional thinking of education as the ticket to the good life emerges in different ways and degrees in Bangladesh. Education is seen as something that is received rather than achieved and it has increasingly become dependent on certificates. Education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual.

In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another. The Government of Bangladesh places great importance on education and in this regard the Government has been trying to transform its huge population into human resource. Education for All (EFA) is the constitutional responsibility of the government. The constitution affirms equal rights in education for all. Since independence every government had taken several steps to increase the literacy rate in Bangladesh.

But did they really work out? Our neighbor countries like India, Srilanka have made a great progress in literacy rate. But, where as the current literacy rate of Bangladesh is 63. 8 %. If all the steps were successfully implemented, then the rate would be around 80% (daily Janakantho, 24 July, 10). So, here is short description about the whole education system and the role of government in Bangladesh. Governance: Although the term governance is often used synonymously with the term government it tends rather to be used to describe the processes and systems by which a government or governor operate.

The term government and governor describe the institutions and people involved. According to the World Bank……… Governance is “the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised for the common good. This includes (i) the process by which those in authority are selected, monitored and replaced, (ii) the capacity of the government to effectively manage its resources and implement sound policies, and (iii) the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them. According to the UNDP………. “Governance is the exercise of political, economic and administrative authority to manage a nation’s affairs. It is the complex mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights and obligations, and mediate their differences. ” Education Governance: Education governance is concerned with how the funding, provision, ownership and regulation of education and training systems is coordinated, and at what level; local, regional, national and supranational.

It is government who play the most significant role in coordinating education, the distribution of these responsibilities has been changing in response to calls for greater efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and democracy. Households, communities, and new kinds of private actors, are increasingly involved in many different aspects of education and training governance, raising questions about equity, participation and transparency. Objectives of Education Governance: To inspire and create enthusiasm among the learners in their thoughts, deeds and daily life to establish moral, humanitarian, religious, cultural and social values in personal as well as in national life. • To develop awareness in the learners to protect the independence, sovereignty and integrity of Bangladesh. • To make education pragmatic, productive and creative with a view to bringing about changes in the socio-economic conditions of the country and making the students into a dutiful and responsible manpower with scientific outlook and help them develop the qualities of leadership. To give special emphasis on primary and secondary education with a view to expanding education, to instill respect and eagerness for physical labor and enable the learners acquire vocational education for self-employment in all stages of education. • To promote fraternity, moral values, generosity and fellow-feeling in people and make them respectful of human rights. • To promote democratic values through fostering tolerance of one another’s views and help develop life-oriented, realistic and positive attitude for blossoming democratic awareness. To ensure proper quality at every level of education; to strengthen and widen the knowledge, skills and attitude acquired in the previous stage (in accordance with various aims and objectives of education): to enable acquisition of new knowledge and skills and to encourage people to contribute in the system of education, especially in the field of primary, secondary and vocational education. • To emancipate the country from the curse of illiteracy. • To create equal opportunities for education in accordance with merit and aptitude for the purpose of building a society free from disparity. To ensure gender parity in education and remove barriers of caste, creed and ethnicity in obtaining education. • To ensure constitutional guarantee at all levels of education. • To create awareness about protection of environment. Structure of Education sector in Bangladesh: The education system in Bangladesh is characterized by co-existence of three separate streams. The mainstream happens to be a vernacular based secular education system carried over from the colonial past. There also exists a separate religious system of education.

Finally, based on use of English as the medium of instruction, another stream of education, modeled after the British education system, using the same curriculum, has rapidly grown in the metropolitan cities of Bangladesh. However diverse the above streams may apparently look, they have certain common elements, and there exists scope for re-integration of graduates of one stream with the other at different levels. Different Streams in Education The mainstream education system in Bangladesh is structured as follows: – a.

One or two year pre-primary education imparted in private schools/kindergartens, and informally in government primary schools for six months. b. Five-year compulsory primary education for the 6-10 year age group, imparted mainly in government and non-government primary schools. In metropolitan cities, however, government and non-government primary schools cater to the educational needs only of the poorer sections of the people, as the better-off families usually send their children to Private English Medium schools/ secondary schools that run primary sections as well.

Very few NGOs however impart education for the full 5-year primary education cycle. c. On completion of primary education, students (11+) enroll for junior secondary education that spans over 3 years. At the end of this phase of education, some students branch out to join the vocational stream, offered at Vocational Training Institutes (VTI) and Technical Training Centers (TTC) run by the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Labor and Employment respectively, while students in the mainstream continue in government and non-government secondary schools for a 2 year secondary education in their respective areas of specialization i. . humanities, science, commerce, etc. At the end of their secondary education, the students sit for their first public examination (S. S. C. ) under the supervision of six education boards. The students of religious education and English medium streams also sit for their respective public examinations, Dakhil, and O level, conducted by the Madrasah Education Board, and London/Cambridge University respectively, facilitated by the British Council in case of the latter. d.

After 10 years of schooling at primary and secondary level, students (16+) who succeed in passing the Secondary School Certificate (S. S. C. ) examination have the option of joining a college for a 2 year higher secondary education in their respective areas of specialization, or enroll in technical/ poly technical institutes for technical education. After 2-year higher secondary education, one has to sit for another public examination called Higher Secondary Certificate (H. S. C. ) Examination conducted by the Education Boards to qualify for further education.

Students of Religious and English Medium streams also sit for their respective public examinations, Alim, and ‘A’ level, conducted by the Madrasah Education Board and London/Cambridge University respectively to qualify for further education. e. Under-graduate education of various duration (2 to 4 years) are offered to 18+ students at a number of public and private universities / degree colleges/technical colleges/ specialized institutions. Successful completion of a degree course is a pre-requisite for appointment to a white-collar civilian job. . Post-graduate education normally of 1-2 year duration is provided at universities and selected degree colleges and institutions. Key Organizations governing the education sector in Bangladesh: Many organizations are involved in the direction of higher education in Bangladesh, and there is no single overarching authority. The President of Bangladesh is the Chancellor of most of the universities and is responsible for the appointment of vice-chancellors. The Prime Minister is Chancellor of a limited number of universities.

To reduce the burden on the universities, the NU was established to take over and organize the affiliated colleges in all fields except agriculture, engineering and medicine. The Bangladesh Institutes of Technology (BIT) Council (CBIT) co-ordinates the activities of the four engineering colleges that enroll around 3,200 students. It has virtually the same functions as the UGC, only for the institutes of technology. The Association of Universities of Bangladesh (AUB) co-ordinates the activities of universities in both academic and administrative matters.

The AUB also leases with the government and the UGC on administrative and financial affairs. Management of the education sector in Bangladesh: Pre-primary education, generally recognized as a useful stage of education to smoothen the transition from home to an institutional environment and thereby contributing to reduced drop out rates at primary level has so long remained outside the purview of official education policy of Bangladesh. Its management therefore lies at present exclusively in the hands of the schools imparting such education and some NGOs running such schools.

The Education Policy 2010 did however recognize the need for pre-primary education and recommended its gradual introduction to 5+ children in primary schools with a view to universalizing one-year pre-primary education. As provision of universal compulsory primary education has been recognized by the Constitution of Bangladesh as a state responsibility, the government has assumed direct responsibility of the management of primary education in Bangladesh, particularly in the wake of enactment of Compulsory Primary Education Act in 1990.

The overall responsibility of management of primary education lies with the Primary and Mass Education Division (PMED) set up as a separate Division with the status of a Ministry in 1992. While the PMED is involved in formulation of policies, the responsibility of implementation of the same rests with the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) headed by a Director General. The different tiers of administration such as Divisions, Districts and Upazilas are manned by Deputy Directors, District Primary Education Officers (DPEO) and Upazila Education Officers (UEO) respectively.

UEOs are assisted by a number of AUEOs each in charge of a cluster of primary schools. At the school level, there exist School Management Committees (SMC) formed as per government directives with certain well defined functions, and Parent Teachers Associations (PTA) playing a supportive role in building favorable teaching-learning environment in schools. The Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) and its subordinate offices in the district and upazila are solely responsible for management and supervision of primary education.

Their responsibilities include recruitment, posting, and transfer of teachers and other staff; arranging in-service training of teachers; and distribution of free text books, and supervision of schools. The responsibility of school construction, repair and supply of school furniture lies with the Facilities Department (FD) and Local Government Engineering Department (LGED). The National Curriculum and Text Book Board (NCTB) is responsible for the development of curriculum and production of textbooks.

While the Ministry of Education (MOE) is responsible for formulation of policies, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) under the Ministry of Education is responsible for implementing the same at secondary and higher education level. The NCTB is responsible for developing curriculum, and publishing standard textbooks. Seven regions based Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) are responsible for conducting the two public examinations, S. S. C. and H. S. C. , in addition to granting recognition to non-government secondary schools.

DSHE is divided into eight zones, each in charge of a Deputy Director assisted by two Inspectors, and two Assistant Inspectors. District Offices are headed by District Education Officers (DEO). There exist three different levels of supervision. BISEs are responsible for accreditation of non-government secondary schools. However, because of lack of inspection capacity, the work is delegated to Zonal Inspectors and DEOs. The Directorate of Inspection and Audit of MOE with a small manpower of 24 Inspectors are responsible for periodic qualitative and quantitative evaluation of non-government schools.

Each zone has two Inspectors and two Assistant Inspectors to inspect all schools covered by the zones. At the school level, in case of non-government secondary schools, School Management Committees (SMC), and at the intermediate college level in case of non-government colleges, Governing Bodies (GB), formed as per government directives, are responsible for mobilizing resources, approving budgets, controlling expenditures; and appointing and disciplining staff. In government secondary schools there does not exist any SMC. The Head Master s solely responsible for running the school and is supervised by the Deputy Director of the respective zone. PTAs however exist essentially for ensuring a better teaching learning environment. The Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) is responsible for planning, development and implementation of technical and vocational education in the country. Universities in Bangladesh are autonomous bodies administered by statutory bodies such as Syndicate, Senate, Academic Council etc. in accordance with provisions laid down in their respective Acts.

While the private universities are regulated by the University Grand Commission (UGC). Regulation/Licensing authority Under the President’s Order No. 10 of 1973, which established the UGC, the UGC has the right to visit the public universities or to have them visited by teams of experts as and when necessary for evaluating programs and assessing their needs and requirements. The establishment of a private university requires the formation of a non-profit corporation or foundation and the Private Universities Act stipulates a series of conditions for establishing a private university.

Some of them are given below: • A security deposit of Taka 50 million in interest-bearing government bonds. Transnational Report – Case Study: Bangladesh (October 2003) page 18 of 36 • A minimum of two faculties. • Permission to rent office space only for 5 years, before building their own campus. They should own land of at least five acres. • Programs and courses to be offered must be approved by the UGC before students are admitted. • Five percent of places must be reserved for free studentships to ‘poor but meritorious’ students. Following establishment, the UGC has the authority to periodically monitor, visit and evaluate the performance of private universities, regarding the numbers of qualified teachers, library books, facilities, approved curricula, and to recommend de-certification if institutions fail to perform according to agreed-upon standards. The National University reviews and approves the applications of all degree colleges that seek Government recognition. Applications are reviewed against minimum criteria for facilities, teaching staff, and library and laboratory facilities.

Approval must be reaffirmed for all institutions each year and institutions can be de-affiliated. Guidelines of Ministry of Education: • Human resource development is at the core of Bangladesh’s development efforts and access to quality education is critical to poverty reduction and economic development. The Government is committed to undertaking structural reforms that are expected to bring significant improvements in the education sector. Bangladesh’s commitment to education has been clearly stated in its Constitution and development plans with education being given the highest priority in the public sector investments.

Education sector allocations are currently about 2. 3 percent of GDP and 14 percent of total government expenditure. Maintaining this commitment to the education sector is imperative in order to achieve Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). • The management of the education system falls under two ministries – the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME, responsible for primary education and mass literacy) and the Ministry of Education (MoE, responsible for secondary, vocational and tertiary education).

Overall there are more than 17 million students at the primary level, and over 8. 0 million at the secondary level. Enrolments at the tertiary level are relatively small but growing very rapidly. • Bangladesh has made significant progress, especially in regard to increasing access and gender equity, both at primary and secondary levels. Gross primary enrollment rates rose from 90 percent in the late 1990s to 98 percent in 2003, while a corresponding increase in enrollment rates at the secondary level rise to 44 percent.

Gender parity in access to primary and secondary education has also been achieved. These achievements are particularly spectacular when compared to countries in the South Asia region and other countries at similar levels of per-capita income. • The Government is strongly committed to alleviating the existing problems in respect of management and quality through reforms across the education system. At the primary level, MoPME is supported by a multi-donor group through the Primary Education Development Program II (PEDP II), which aims to strengthen educational access, quality and efficiency. In order to address issues at the secondary and higher levels, MoE has developed a medium-term framework for the secondary education sub-sector, focusing on quality improvements, policy measures and specific actions needed to reform the system. The development of this medium-term framework has benefited from an extensive range of consultations and workshops with stakeholders at the central, district, and upazila levels.

The main objective of reforms being proposed is to address systemic governance issues aimed at raising the quality and cost-effectiveness of service delivery, and improve equity of access in secondary education. • MoE is aiming to move towards a devolved system of governance within the current administrative structure. In this system the central government will be responsible for formulating policies, financing, setting quality standards, and monitoring and evaluation etc. , while lower levels of government will be responsible for administering the system.

MoE is empowering officials at the district and upazila levels to take greater responsibility in monitoring school performance and ensure public disclosure of information (e. g. , SSC passing rates, teacher absenteeism, class sizes, etc. ) related to school quality. • To ensure appropriate financial controls, MoE is implementing a Financial Management Reform Program (FMRP). This is intended to increase accountability and transparency in the use of resources Main laws governing education in Bangladesh:

The legal basis for higher education is complicated, with some laws deriving from colonial time sand others from the Pakistan era. There may be fundamental change in the governance and administration of higher education in the near future (World Bank, 1999b). Currently, the universities have autonomy (by the parliamentary acts) to work within the UGC-given parameters, and the same is true for degree colleges under the NU. Public Universities Ordinance (1973) is the governance framework for public universities in Bangladesh.