Teachers' Day Let Tangible Appraisal Be Done

19 January 2021

Majhar Mannan :
January 19 is observed nationally as Teachers' Day with a pledge to establish the teaching community in Bangladesh with due dignity. The overall development and self-sufficiency of a country depends on the education infrastructure and quality of education in that country. Teachers do the main work in nation building. Are the teachers good today? The question that revolves around this day comes up again and again. Almost everyone knows the social and financial status of teachers in Bangladesh. Teachers are frequently seen going on hunger strike day after day in front of the National Press Club with the aim of gaining various rights such as salary, allowances, job security, promotion, MPO enrollment and social status.
Inequality has become evident in the education system due to public and private classification. Non government teachers are the biggest victims of education discrimination. There are also wide variations in the pay structure of teachers. As there is a difference in the management of Madrasa, General education and English medium education, there is a disparity in salary, allowances and other benefits. Public universities have a specific salary structure for teachers, but private universities do not have such kind of salary structure. Exactly the same situation is noticeable in primary, secondary and colleges. Non government school and college teachers have to lead a life of hardship due to their financial quandary. There is an extreme contraposition in the salaries of government and non government teachers in primary schools. Non MPO teachers have been struggling for a long time to get MPO enrollment. Recent some teachers have already been enrolled in the MPO. Non government schools and colleges are managed by a management committee and this management committee's limitless dominance, manipulation, recruitment corruption, political interference are no longer unknown to anyone. In all these committees, neutral, highly educated, education loving scholars and learned can no longer be found today.
The notion of teachers' dignity has changed today because academicians are no longer the regulators of education. Now influential people have taken the control of education and teachers have become puppets in their hands. The status of teachers depends not only on social status but also on financial matters and they are far behind in both these respects. UNESCO has strong recommendation for teachers' status and says to ensure the safety, professionalism and position. Teachers must have adequate freedom to perform their professional duties. UNESCO added that teachers' salaries and social status must be ensured so that they can live beautifully and teach comfortably. It has been said in the education policy 2010 to eliminate of pay inequality between government and non government teachers. The private education system has severe mismanagement, irregularities, exploitation, deprivation and pay discrimination. The promotion of non government teachers seems to be a very rare thing. MPO enlisted college teachers have only one promotion opportunity in their job period and that is to go from lecturer to Assistant professor. As this promotion is given according to the ratio of 50:2, all lecturers do not get it and many lecturers have to retire without promotion. Good salary, personality, job satisfaction, and social status are deeply connected with promotion. Indeed, teaching has become a thankless job today.
Teachers are also failing to strengthen their own position for various reasons. Notable among these are internal conflict, political factions, flattery, tailgating, nepotism, reluctance to research, deterioration of student -teacher relationship, coaching reliance, unavailability, deprivation and so on. In Bangladesh, for various reasons, talented young people do not want to come into the teaching profession. In this profession they do not find any dream of their future and do not find any spirit to build a career. However, the World Bank says that Bangladesh needs to provide quality teachers if it wants to create a skilled population. This profession is failing to attract young people due to low wages, poor social status and lack of other facilities.
Education is one of the 26 Cadre services in BCS. But no candidate usually wants to have this cadre as their first choice. Among the 26 Cadres in terms of their preference, education is at the lowest level. 4 lakh 12 thousand applications were submitted against 1903 posts in 40th BCS. But less than 1 percent of candidates applied to general education as their first choice. But there are more posts in the education cadre, yet the candidates put it at the end of their choice. If they cannot find a job at all, they choose to teach in secondary and primary schools. In short, teaching is their back-up job, not main profession. They feel that their merits in this profession are not properly evaluated. About 60 percent of non cadre primary school headmasters later quit their jobs. They do so because of the obvious lack of social status, salaries, allowances and other benefits.
Teachers are the bearers and carriers of civilization. Teaching profession has to be challenging and accountable and this requires proper evaluation of teachers. The story of teacher development should not be limited to mere word of mouth, it should become a reality. The teachers have to find a way to get rid of the deprivation without keeping it in their chests. If there is no qualitative change of teachers and education, there will be no success in celebrating this day.

(Majhar Mannan is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola, Dhaka Cantonment).

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