Quality schools, Quality Futures
Bangladesh is going to enter into the club of developing countries by 2024. So, next six years is very crucial for sustaining progress in the three determinants of entering into the developing countries club. It requires continuous progress of growth in agriculture sector, gradually expanding industrial sector, trade & commerce sector, foreign remittance income sector and regards to retain continuous positive growth in the said sectors the country needs productive workforce. Therefore, to continue development trends, the country badly needs to developing productive workforce and ensuring their active participation. Obviously education is the foundation of a skilled workforce and a creative community. Schools are the lying-in room of developing future generations as productive workforce. So, a strong and sustainable schooling system that ensures all children receive an excellent education matters for Bangladesh’s future. Bangladesh’s future depends on how well it develops the ‘human capital’ of its population particularly its future generations. A well-performing schooling system at primary and secondary tier of education must strengthen the foundation of a skilled workforce that will pave the way for country’s steady moving on the road to the developing countries societies by 2024. The better literacy and numeracy skills a young person has, the more likely they are to continue at school, undertake tertiary study, and develop him/herself as highly skilled workforce. Furthermore, the jobs of the future are likely to be more complex than jobs of today and will require skill base education. Students will need to be more innovative and creative and be able to work collaboratively with others to be successful in their future jobs. So, the country should strive for a high quality school system that assists each and every child to reach their full potential, so they can fully participate in the economic and social life of the community.
So, the burning question is to make the entire primary and secondary schools as quality schools that tend to build quality futures of the country by developing future generation as productive workforce.
Strong education outcomes at primary and secondary schools must bring benefit for Bangladesh through improvements to national productivity, workforce participation and stronger economic prosperity. The country’s future depends on how well it develops the ‘human capital’ of its future generation and a well-performing schooling system can determine country’s quality future.
Building of quality schools may be identified as a combination of seven major implement able components. These are: quality teaching, quality learning, empowering school leadership, meeting student’s need, transparency & accountability, engaging parents in student’s learning and providing student-centred fund to schools.
Quality teaching requires the best teachers for every school. This will mean encouraging our best and brightest to join the profession (by keeping provision of receiving attractive salary & opportunities of getting better degree of social status), equipping teachers particularly new teachers with the skills they need to excel by providing training and giving experienced teachers’ high quality professional development to maintain and enhance their skills.
Quality learning means to provide a world class education for every child. Quality learning by students depends on student-centred teaching-learning process, adequate contact hour, active & attentive participation into classroom activities, supportive role of teachers & classmates in learning, frequent lesson ending evaluation and ensuring evaluation after special support, student-centred school environment, availability of sports & cultural activities as co curricular activities and arrangement of taking meal/snacks during break for keeping fit to participate actively in school activities. The evidence suggests that school students are failing to keep pace in reading Bangla & English text, mathematics and science. Students have also poor performances as well as have inadequate facilities in learning ICT and skill based education. So, schools should inevitably need to ensure quality learning for each and every student in Bangla, English, Mathematics, Science, ICT and need based technical education. Considering students’ learning, schools might be categorised for funding and providing facilities.
Strong and engaged school leaders are essential for school improvement. A strong head teacher can make all the difference in turning a poorly performing school around. Governments may consider to giving our current and future school leaders more professional support and more autonomy. With greater autonomy school leaders will feel greater levels of accountability for improving school performance.
Meeting student need is a crying need for providing quality learning to every student. This will certainly valued them that tend to perform their responsibilities properly. The Government is committed to ensuring inclusiveness in education at all tiers of education and inclusiveness must be required of meeting every single student needs.
Engaging parents in education can play a vital role in strengthening children’s learning because communication with parents is important to working in true partnership with home and school. As parents have a significant impact on their child’s learning, therefore schools may set assignments for parents like enquiring of completing children’s homework/today’s lesson, informing teachers about children’s weak areas of understanding or overall performances in learning, helping children to bring homemade food as day meal etc. Moreover, competent parents may be engaged in part time teaching (in case of shortages of teachers) or may be utilised their expertise in arts, handicrafts, IT, vocational education etc for sharing with children.
Schools authority must be accountable to parents. Schools need to provide parents with a progress report every year that shows the achievement and progress of their child in reading, writing, mathematics, behaviour and other areas of children’s development so that they can have a full understanding of their child’s progress through schooling and where they may need more assistance and support. Schools might also have transparency to disclose income and expenditure to parents and community. They may publish a brochure every year highlighting overall academic progress, teacher, student and school performances, summary of budget etc as a means of showing transparency & accountability.
Quality schools are about ensuring of student-centred sufficient funding in schools and its effective utilisation. Schools too need sustainable education funding that demands investment in modern and dynamic VET system for improved workforce development. So, funding must focuses on quality teaching and programs that will boost schooling results and giving students the skills & knowledge they need to live and work comfortably facing massive competition in the future.
The country is on the right track of developing each and every primary and secondary school a quality school one by investing huge amount of money. The government is delivering enormous school funding and reform arrangements that focus on providing quality learning to students. But comparing to government huge investment, target of providing quality learning to every student is not satisfactorily achieved yet. The country has huge numbers of students in madrashas who are depriving of receiving modern-day education that keeping them far away from receiving suitable learning to face competitiveness in job market. It is fact that like world’s largest Muslim country Indonesia, the country must have the existence of madrashas. Madrasha make up an important part of the school system in Indonesia where twenty percent of country’s total children attend. Indonesian government has taken SSQ (School Systems and Quality) program financed by Australian government and SSQ is helping 1500 Indonesian madrashas to improve their quality. So, the government should chalk out programs for providing quality learning to madrasha students with a view to meet the national education standard. This will also establish government’s control over all categories of madrashas and refraining students to indulge in non-judicial anti-sate & inhuman activities.
The country is investing huge amount of money from revenue earnings with the support of international donors towards providing quality learning to entire students at primary & secondary schools. The government should emphasise more on ensuring maximum utilisation of its fund to student-centred activities and should not allow wastage or non-utilisation of students’ contact hour by any means.
The country has vision of making it a developed country by 2041 and also has obligation of continuing its progress trend till 2024 for confirming recognition of a developing country. This will require skilled workforce and only by developing every school a quality school, the country may be ensured quality workforce. People and the government are looking forward for building quality future generation for quality future of the country.
Md Bayazid Khan
The writer is working for primary education sector in a hill district of Bangladesh as District Primary Education Officer.