Area-based education ‘becomes imperative in Dhaka, other cities’
Published : 21 Jun 2019, 12:25
Working parents in Dhaka city typically start their day in a rush of activity enough to send anyone’s blood pressure soaring. Probably the most time-consuming component of all is also the most essential - that is to drop their children at school, after which it is a battle to get to their own offices on time amid severe gridlock and various problems on the way.
This everyday picture of struggle may be different if children could be admitted to schools that serve specific geographically limited areas allowing them to be located at walking distance from students’ homes in the city.
Experts emphasised “area-based education” in cities and urged the government to increase the budgetary allocation in this regard they recommended the system in Dhaka and other metropolitan cities to ease traffic jam and ensure children’s security.
One of the challenges in implementing an area-based education system would be to ensure that irrespective of where they may be located, a certain standard is maintained throughout.
Tania Akter, a resident of old Dhaka town, said, “I was forced to resign from my job only to drop my two daughters at school.”
“Third and fourth grader daughters are reading in Ideal School and College Motijheel in Dhaka. I have to take them to school from old Dhaka regularly. I worked for a private company but had to resign as I couldn’t manage time to drop them at the school and attend the office in time,” she added.
Tania said, “If the government takes initiatives to launch area-based education that would be a great help for me.”
Mohammad Abu Awal Hossain from Keraniganj said he drops his sixth grader daughter Asma at Azimpur Govt Girls School and College every day.
“I got my daughter admitted to this remote school due to the absence of any better standard school in Keraniganj area. We face various problems on the way to school and back home daily.
I would appreciate the authorities if they introduce area-based school in the city.”
According to 2018 data Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Statistics (BANBEIS), there are 572 government and private secondary schools in Dhaka city only.
Of them, 164 schools are public and the rest are private ones where 4,75,042 are counted as regular students, including 2,42,908 are girls.
Besides, there are 16,893 secondary school teachers among them 7,659 are female in Dhaka city.
However, there are 20,466 secondary schools across the country. And amazingly only 978 are public and the rest are private owned ones where 1,04,75,588 students are regular, including 56,55,690 girls. They have got 2,34,177 teachers.
On the other hand, there are 370,910 students reading in 92 private universities in Dhaka city, according to BANBEIS data of 2016.
Professor Emeritus of Dhaka University Dr Serajul Islam Choudhury said, “We must not tag schools as good or bad. That differentiation affects the whole education. All the schools of villages and cities should be developed equally and be of the same standard.”
He said an area-based education system will be great if it can be implemented. “We’ve been creating inequality in education in many ways. We must bring equality among all people through education.”
Dr Serajul Islam Choudhury went on saying, “Examination is the other name of ‘panic’ now. Coaching centers and private schools are doing business with this. I think, there should be no examination at primary level. The primary students will only read and play.”
Prof Serajul Islam further said, “There’s no need of preprimary system. Now children are admitted to schools through lottery system. Where will the students get admitted who are not allowed in lottery system? Every child has the right to equal standard education.”
Prof Syeda Tahmina Akhter, Director of Institute of Education and Research of Dhaka University, said, “Area-based education system should be implemented in the country soon. It’s really tough for job holders to carry children to far away schools amid regular traffic in Dhaka.
Dhaka will get rid of traffic jam if the system is once set. Parents in the city won’t have to worry if their children get admitted to the schools near their houses.”
Prof Dr Mijanur Rahman, Vice-Chancellor of Jagannath University (JnU), said area-based education system is very essential for the country. Everyone will get benefit from this system.
We need more budget allocation in education sector to implement this system. The quality of schools should be the same and more schools should be established.”
JnU VC said the administration should stress guardians to admit their children in nearby schools.”
Sharing his experience of Finland, Denmark, and Norway, Dr Mijanur Rahman said, “They don’t create any pressure on children.”
The JnU VC added that there are many street children who do not go to schools. The government should bring those floating children to schools.”
He suggested the authorities to ensure equality education in the schools of Dhaka so that nobody can differentiate the schools of Keraniganj, Badda, old Dhaka, Jatrabari, Gulsahan, Banani, Dhanmondi or Gulshan areas with one another.
Standing Committee member of Primary and Mass Education Ministry Shirin Akhter, MP told UNB that the area-based education system would be a better one for the country. “If the system can be introduced, traffic jam will get reduces, time will be saved, children security will be ensured, and above all the guardians will be free from anxiety over their children.”
She said the government should give more incentive to poor quality schools to bring equality in all institutions of the country.
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