K M Atikur Rahman
Education is such type of service and process by which human being can explore its mental, moral and spiritual world. It can bring out a man from darks into an enlightened life. It is a prime tool to develop a nation as well as a society sustainably. Bangladesh is a country of 160 million people and about half of them are yet out of basic education. Even those who are literate or educated are in questionable status. The pass rate of public exams is increasing day by day and that is concentrated mostly in urban areas. But it is regretted that overall educational conditions both in rural or urban areas are so vulnerable. Educational activities, institutions are gradually on rise, but quality education and total literacy rate actually cannot increase. Curriculum and syllabuses are being changed almost each year. The authority adopts these policies for developing the educational standard following the global trends and policies; but outcomes are not remarkable. Experts think globalization is a vital mechanism which makes the global service sectors complicated especially the educational aspect.Bangladesh state authority took decision to privatize institutionally the educational sector into the market line or private authority in early 1990s. Perhaps, there were some private educational institutes since a long time ago; but they were not massive. The private sector educational system has been introduced in Bangladesh following the aid conditionality imposed by WB, IMF, EU, and Western countries. Bretton Woods Conference (1944) adopted a principal policy to open the global economy. Then just after Second World War, global economic governance (WB, IMF) launched the liberalized policy in international trade in accordance with the resolutions of GATT. At the beginning stage ‘open or free market policy’ was only in the economic or trade sectors; but social sectors also come under the privatization or deregulation policy in 1970s. Global authority included education, health, telecom, postal service energy, etc. as the items of market system. Presently the developing countries like Bangladesh place education, health and other service sectors to market and they are sold and bought as goods in market structure. The enormous growth of economic and social sectors has been increased globally; whereas the common people gradually go beyond the advantage of this system badly. To the contrast, their living standard gets marginality and the capitalist groups make multifold profits.
Private universities started their journey in 1992 by the enactment of a law. Presently about 80 private universities are on operation and every year a good number of applications for license are submitted to the due authority. These activities make evidence that it is a good and safe business. Besides, it is viewed that most of the universities own by some business elites, non-business people are hardly found herein. A public university student spends only BDT 5 thousands; whereas from BDT 1 to 4 lacs are spent by a private university student only for the purpose of annual tuition fee. But it is observed that private universities in Bangladesh lack acutely the quality education. Session jam is perhaps in those institutes is lowered than that of public universities. Certificate-based education in private institutes expedites the business profit, not creative education actually. The guardians feel severe difficulties in bearing the educational expenditure of their sons that sometimes forces them into getting involved in illegal ways to income money enough. Such this way corruption and irregularities are spread in all walks of life day by day. Moreover, private university students feel frustration when they can not able to get desired jobs. It is viewed that globalization brought education to market line only for the interests of business classes. Actually the commons are here deprived of the advantages of globalization. Poor students frequently leave their study at a stage, when they cannot buy the higher cost of education. Primary and tertiary educations are also running under the free market economy. Donor agencies provide their aids to primary education with some conditionality that encourages the state to adopt the neo-liberal policy directly or indirectly. As a result, private school (kindergarten and high schools) and colleges in Bangladesh are mushrooming both in rural and urban areas. Hence, state authority can not bar the process; rather politically backed people are on forward to establish such type of schools i. e. they are getting involved in the education business. In fact, education in school level has already been a one kind of safe business that cannot incur any loss.
Kindergarten schooling has been the best business item in present Bangladesh. In many cases, educated unemployed persons set up a school mainly for his profession. Most of the class rooms of a kindergarten are too congested to accommodate students the minimally. Most of the kindergarten schools in Bangladesh are launched in rented houses-there are no minimal educational facilities (play ground, library, toilet, ventilation, adequate furniture and equipments) – no trained up teacher staff and administration.
About 60,000 kindergarten schools are running presently in Bangladesh. Most of them are unauthorized or unregistered under the mainstream education policy or administration. Global development partners advocate the liberalization policy in service sectors (education, health) – but they are not concerned of liability –are not agree to make the environment to monitor. They are highly interested in building up the educational infrastructures instead of encouraging quality education. Global donor agencies give loans for building school houses; but they are less interested in the matters of quality teacher training, ideal curriculum, etc. That is why; globalization gives us different types of infrastructures in cost of discriminated quality services that create a one kind of instability in the society. The curriculum and teachers’ quality of private schools (kindergartens and private high schools) are badly substandard. Generally publishing companies allure the schools to introduce their syllabuses and books and black hands are seemed to be active in this connection. The so-called learning materials contain huge amount of meaningless lessons that are burdens for the children and this situation forces them to go to private tutors spending huge amount of money. The teachers of the schools are mostly undergraduate and low paid; so they are mainly interested in private-coaching instead of creative class teaching. In fact such faults and irregularities are common features in our education; but state authority is hardly able to take action against them due to market oriented educational system. Besides, states indirectly encourage the private schooling in the Third World because they can save the funds from educational expenditure. As state authority does not finance them, they monitor hardly their activities. As a result, they are conducting their schools in their own style that go against the students and their guardians. All guardians have to pay huge amount of tuition fee monthly. Private schooling systems encourage private coaching that costs high amounts of money from the guardians. For these reasons, the students of low income groups drop out at a high rate in rural areas. Another scenario is viewed in the society that the government primary schools are losing their importance gradually because the children of affluent families are getting admission in private kindergarten schools and mostly the children of poor and marginal families are admitting government schools. Guardians think the private schools are good and they can increase their status. As consumerism gets momentum in the age of globalization, colorful private schools are the first choice of the people. So, state authority should strictly control, finance the whole educational system not leaving it to market line completely to save the common people as well as quality education.
(Author: MPhil Researcher, University of Dhaka. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
K M Atikur Rahman