Educational Reform

Marzuque Mashrur Fariz

Our country is no stranger to the concept of overhauling entire education systems with extremely short notices with what seems to be a reckless disregard for the future of the students of these systems. The intent behind these decisions is always admirable being the want to improve a system they know to be flawed but the way this is being handled is comical at best and self-destructive at worst.

Over the course of the past few years, the government has tried many different ways to improve the education sector, the brunt of which is being faced by the students of the national curriculum. Specifically, two batches of students that seem to have incurred the wrath of lawmakers as they seem to be the guinea pigs for all sorts of experiments in the field. If you haven’t been closely related to the national curriculum in the recent past, you may not know what I am talking about, so I’ll give you a short refresher. 

The batches that started school in 2007/2008, started with 6 mandatory subjects as well as a few more depending on the institution they studied in. In 2012, they had to give the PEC which was in itself rushed but they had a good few years to adjust to it but the very next year, the patterns for their answers changed to the heavily debated Creative System leading to frantic efforts to try and stabilize the results for that year. The next year, students had to jump from the mandated 6 subjects to a whopping 13, which included subjects like Physical Education And Health, Career Education, and Agriculture/Home science depending on gender. The objective of having these subjects is so that students learn these things early on so that they can internalize these subjects over a longer period of time but as a student at the time, it felt impossible. Trying to learn the extremely confusing Creative System from equally confused teachers led to a lot of memorization which wouldn’t be difficult if not for the diverse spread of fields we were supposed to study. From algebra to raising cattle, to history, to literature, it was an absolute mess. But the students coped and the teachers understood the system better and everything was beginning to become smoother. Fast forward to 2017, where students are getting settled into the question pattern, it is decided that Physical Education and Career education are to be excluded from their SSC and it is proposed that there will be 10 creative questions up from the usual 6 (For the people that don’t know, writing 10 creatives in any reasonable amount of time is almost impossible). Absurd as the proposal might be, the students have seen massive shifts like this before so they don’t even bat an eye and practice likewise. After a year, 7 creatives are decided to be the sweet spot and now students have to practice differently for the new pattern. On top of all this, there was an absolutely massive overhaul of the textbooks for all classes in the middle of all this. After all, that was the proposal to grade exams of the HSC on a GPA of 4 instead of 5 which has no reason to exist other than to roll the dice and see what happens. 

In essence, every single massive decision on the education system has been faced with little to no warning by the students of these batches. They have never had a consistent education plan for more than a few years at a time. Amazing students have failed to cope or even quit out of frustration over the absurdity of this system. There have been no significant improvements with the new decisions as evidenced by the rollbacks on some of them. The only thing they helped was the ability of these students to adjust on the fly to a number of various curriculums and testing methods. This is all excluding the fact that they will inherently be handicapped in the search for jobs in the future because no employer will know or even consider their struggle to have achieved the grades they did. No one is saying that the way we are teaching our students is perfect, far from it. But the changes to be implemented should be thought out, tested on small scales before rolling out to the masses. Massive changes should be made with the opinions of experts as well as regular people. And of course, the capacity of students should be the first and foremost concern for any future developments. 

Here’s to hoping for greener pastures in the coming years.

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