Bringing changes in education system
Recently, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said they want to bring major changes in education system to make country's education joyful. She expressed that the education system is very much dependent on exams and certificates and education from pre-primary to university level is joyless. So, they want to bring enjoyment in education so that curiosity would grow among the students.
Warm congratulations to hon'ble minister's good thoughts, and best wishes to her effort. It is learned from newspaper reports that the government has been planning to step over the present education system to make it more enjoyable and time-befitting to enable students to acquire knowledge through joy.
There are questions - how to make joyful learning? Who are the biggest agents to make lesson joyful? What are the main barriers of making the lessons joyful? How to ensure joyful learning? All are easy questions; but, the answers are not simple.
Joyful education means engaging, empowering, and playful learning of meaningful contents in a loving and supportive community. Through the joyful learning process, a student always improves knowledge of self and the things in the world.
We always aspire to have quality joyful education; this is why, the government formulated the Education Policy-2010 which was enormously fantastic and globally very admiring. But, the Education policy 2010 could not be fully implemented for a number of practical reasons.
Based on the Education Policy, new textbooks were written with authentic materials and contents. The government has brought changes in syllabus and curriculum, evaluation process, introducing of new subjects, etc. Technological revolution occurred during this period; Technology and technological equipment are made available to almost all teachers and schools or colleges; and sufficient numbers of trainings are provided to the teachers and academic administrators.
They are further bringing major changes to the textbooks. It appears that, they left nothing unturned as per the capacity of the government to achieve quality education. In spite of that, the teaching learning could not be made neither joyful nor quality education was achieved during the last 10 years. Teaching at primary, secondary, and higher secondary level is almost miserable, corrective measures should be taken right now.
We have been campaigning and advocating for quality education for longtime; now the government has realized the truth, and taking proactive steps. Education Minister said textbooks have no connection with reality; so, the government is bringing major changes to textbooks in a shift of focus towards quality education. From the minister's speech we know that changes are coming in different branches of science and our knowledge constantly.
Currently, the government has taken initiatives to revise the education policy that was formulated in 2010. It is not a denying fact that many changes have taken place in the world during this period; therefore, now the time is matured to revise, refine and add to the education policy.
All things that the government is planning and implementing are to ensure quality education through joyful teaching and learning. The government has succeeded in decreasing illiteracy and dropout rates. Now, the government puts attention to quality education for every level of education: primary, secondary, and tertiary.
If we aspire to ensure joyful learning for the students at all stages especially primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels, we must concentrate to a number major issues, there is no single-point solution to succeed. Firstly, formulation of textbooks based on reality and current needs is essential. The textbooks which are written after 2012, based on the education policy 2010, are still good. New thoughts and ideas, issues, and contents are incorporated in books.
The textbook lessons are also comprehensible and interesting, but, we could not raise sufficient appeal in the students' minds. However, if the textbooks are further modified based on students needs it will be most welcome for the cause of joyful education. We must remember any sort of textbooks cannot ensure joyful education until the delivery is not given by the teachers.
Secondly, teachers' role is very fundamental in all respects to ensure a joyful learning. All steps and efforts of the government will utterly fail if teachers do not perform their duties as per the guidelines set in the curriculum. Class must be participatory; learners must not be kept as passive listeners; teachers must not appear as threats to their learners. They must study new things to attain new knowledge, and should be aware what is happening in the current world.
They must learn new techniques to apply. Joyful learning is possible if teachers believe it possible and perform accordingly. We must remember teaching is about inspiring and motivating students to realize and exceed their potentials. The greatest teachers of all the time devoted their life in inspiring and empowering their students to achieve great things and be a good human being.
Thirdly, monitoring of teaching should be a must action by the government and the authority concerned. Teachers' activities irrespective of government and non-government institutes should be brought under supervision. Teachers must follow the instruction set by the government; they cannot perform based on their whims and whatever they like to perform.
Fourthly, in line with the Education policy, the teacher-student ratio at both primary and secondary levels was determined as 1:30. But, currently, the teacher-student ratio is 1:37 at primary level and 1:45 at secondary level which is quite large. Joyful learning is hardly possible in a large size of classroom. So, an ideal classroom size is essential.
Fifthly, internal formal tests must be reduced because it creates stress and anxiety in learners. A test or exam can be a stressful time for any student. Students experience big amount of stress and anxiety before and during exams that can actually impair learning and hurt students' performance. Terminal and mid-term tests should be omitted from the calendar, and class-room based alternative progress tests may be introduced in that place.
Joyful learning can flourish in school-if we give joy a chance. Teaching is hard. We should give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.
Dr Md Enamul Hoque is a researcher and teacher trainer