Private tutoring seriously affects primary education in Bangladesh

Private tutoring seriously affects primary education in Bangladesh

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Education at the primary level has become exam-centric instead of learning, and dependent on guidebooks and coaching centres, increasing the cost of education, says a study.
After the Primary Education Completion Examination (PECE) was introduced, education in primary schools  became exam-centric, specially in grade V, depriving young children of the joy of learning and to be creative.It said guidebooks have become principal instruments for most students, school teachers and private tutors, as these are readymade and can be memorised without the trouble of going through textbooks. A good number of students and teachers have more than one guidebook for each subject.
The findings said students and their families did not rely only on classroom teachings or even school-based coaching. Private tutoring has spread to all types of primary educational institutions and socio-economic groups, both in urban and rural areas.
The findings are in the report, “Education Watch 2014: Where Grade V Examination?”. The study was conducted by Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) and the report was unveiled at the LGED Bhaban in the city yesterday (Wednesday). The CAMPE conducted the research in 578 educational institutions under 150 upazlias/ thanas/ municipalities.
The report said some examinees, supported directly or indirectly by teachers and examination organisers, were intent on scoring high marks at any cost. They tend to adopt malpractices and unethical behaviour as not enough preventive and punitive measures are taken against such practices.
The findings said that in the exam hall, 60-65 per cent examinees write on their own without help from others, and support is available to those who need it. Invigilators carried mobile phones to exam halls and received answers through mobile SMS from outside. They supply the answers orally or by writing on blackboards and create an opportunity for copying and to see other’s
answer scripts.
A chaotic situation prevails during the final 40 minutes to one hour exam time, when many examinees scramble to check and copy answers from each other.
It said private expenditure for primary education has increased immensely over time and a major portion of it went for private tutoring, school-based coaching and buying guidebooks, suggestions and hand notes, raising questions about the quality of classroom teaching, free primary education and the subsidy policy in primary education.
In its recommendation, the report emphasises quality classroom teaching and formative assessment, stopping malpractices in schools and in exam halls, support and respect to teachers and their empowerment.
Among others, primary and mass education minister, Mostafizur Rahman, secretary of primary and mass education, Mesbah Ul Alam, chairman of Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, and executive director of CAMPE, Rasheda K Chowdhury, spoke on the occasion.
Teachers and guardians at the programme expressed anxiety, as both students and parents undergo tremendous physical and mental pressure because of the heavy burden of exams at the primary level. – Staff Reporter

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