Education Commission Real Educationists Must Be In Charge05 March 2021
Masum Billah :
It gives us special pleasure to learn that at last the government has started forming 'National Education Commission' to recruit non-government teachers in the secondary, higher secondary, technical and madrasa level as the similar model of the Public Service Commission with the hope of brining transparency in employing teachers in these institutions. A committee comprising nine members has been formed in the light of 'National Education Policy-2010' to develop a legal framework. This committee has been ordered to develop the legal framework by 25 March 2021. The commission going to be formed will shoulder the full responsibility of selecting teachers for employment and it will replace the current Non-government Teachers Registration Certification Authority (NTRCA). The proposed commission will be an autonomous body with the status of permanent national education commission. However, the nine member committee to make legal framework for forming commission comprises of government officials mostly bureaucrats that ventilates a questions whether it will work like NTRCA which has imprinted the signs of inefficiency and mismanagement in dealing with the whole affair.
In order to bring transparency and quality in education NTRCA was formed in 2005 so that quality people come to teaching as School Managing Committee (SME), MP, local leaders and influential persons used to select teachers that experienced serious malpractice. Since 2005 NTRCA introduced a teacher selection test. Participating candidates were given a certificate after the test. However, they had to sit for test again for final recruitment. Still, SMC and governing body used to control employment procedure by exercising their political power that stood in the way of selecting deserving candidates.
Since the inception NRTC conducted as many as sixteen teacher recruitment tests but its mismanagement has lengthened the recruitment of non-government teachers affecting normal flow of academic activities in the non-governmental educational institutions though this portion occupies the huge bulk of education. For two years no recruitment has taken place though many teachers have gone on retirement by this time. It is estimated that about one lakh teachers might have gone on retirement. The candidates who constitute a big number have drowned into frustration as they have not been employed even though qualified.
A heap of complaints have been stored due to numerous irregulars of NTRCA. Of course, the influential people who did not support the forming of NTRCA might have contributed to its inefficient performance. Viva-voce is an important part of any important recruitment test that NTRCA did not introduce initially. When they understood the matter, it created confusion among the candidates for fear of being discriminated. NTRCA issued mass circular from first to fourteenth tests in 2018 and employed 40 thousand teachers that followed several cases. Currently another combined merit list has been developed as per the court verdict from first to 15th NTRCA passed candidates. There lies a rumor that from first to sixth or eightieth batch may be dropped off this list. Because of these irregularities more than 400 writ cases have been filed with the court by the candidates. It is learnt that in the fifteenth NTRCA examination six lakh 34 thousand 127 candidates have been on the merit list. Out of them one lakh 821 candidates cannot get employment as they have crossed the age bar 35 years. Many have taken job in other sectors. Education department floated a circular that till November 2020 fifty thousand 360 positions lay vacant and another 30 thousand new teachers were waiting for getting recruited.
Teaching stands as the single largest area of employment in Bangladesh that has remained uncared for by the proper authorities to check whether the deserving candidates are embracing teaching. That lacking made scope for those who don't deserve to be teachers causing a great harm to our students and overall education management. That was steered by the local influential people preferably those who have direct link with politics. We did not think of its bitter consequences then. However, the government could sense the fact though late and as its upshot is that Non-government Teachers Registration Certification Authority (NTRCA) came into being. However, it could not show its smart performance in dealing with the matter. Thanks to the government for starting implementing the recommendation made by the 'Education Policy-2010' to recruit non-government teachers through a special Education Commission. The candidates will sit for test and get jobs directly without the interference of any third party. PSC non-cadre teachers of government schools have got jobs in the similar manner.
The prime objective of establishing Education Commission is to bringing further transparency and professionalism in teacher employment for non-government educational institutions. It must be manned by real educationists, creative, patriotic and non-political individuals. The government must look for these people. The nation will not be enthusiastic enough to see mostly bureaucrat controlled education commission.
(Mr. Billah works for BRAC Education and President- English Teachers' Association of Bangaldesh. Emal: firstname.lastname@example.org )