Education needs more allocation in budget to adapt with the new normal05 June 2020
A recent study revealed that the closure of educational institutions due to the coronavirus pandemic, dropout rates will increase significantly at schools which will subsequently cause a rise in child marriage, early pregnancy and child labour. Educationists demanded more budgetary allocation for education sector as part of two/three-year-long Covid-19 response and recovery plan for the sector. Meanwhile, uncertainty is looming over introducing new curriculum and distribution of free textbooks among over four crore students studying in primary, secondary and equivalent levels.
Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) shared a rapid survey in this regard. Of the respondents, 84 per cent said dropouts will increase at schools, while 80 per cent warned of increased absenteeism and irregular attendance in school. Seventy-two per cent said, malnutrition will impact on learning ability, 71 percent said child labour will increase and 58 percent said early marriage will increase. Of them, 70 percent said teachers may not receive the salary on time, particularly the non-government teachers and were concerned that non-government teachers might lose their job. To overcome the situation, experts asked the government to make the special allocation of Tk 5,000 crore for Upazila-based recovery and rescue plan from coronavirus crisis. Of the new curricula, before the coronavirus outbreak in the country, NCTB was working in full swing in reviewing of existing curriculum and chalked plan of new textbooks in January 2021. However, the situation forced the NCTB authorities to defer the new curricula plan for one year.
Undeniably, the situation is the worst in our lifetime. All the economic and social institutions have been affected severely. However, the education system should be reopened in either physically or virtually. Moreover, thousands of private schools, madrasahs and kindergarten are involved with the primary education, and the government must take responsibility of all teachers by providing them a basic salary and training to cope with Covid-19 aftermath. As many experts are saying Covid-19 would be part of our life, and we have to adapt with the new normal if so, the government must align its programmes and priorities with the situation.