The movement for the nationalisation of education: An observation15 January 2022
Majhar Mannan :
The main step in the overall development of a country is the education system of that country and if the education system of that country is real and developed then it will move the country forward at a fast pace. Attempts have been made to bring about various reforms in the education system of Bangladesh at different times but still there is a clear global inequality in the education system. In order to eliminate inequality in the education system and establish equality, the teachers have intensified the movement for nationalisation of the education system and now they are in the Press Club. The demand for nationalisation of the education system up to higher secondary level is nothing new. Teachers have been making this movement for a long time but have not yet seen full success. The government has taken steps to nationalise the education system step by step but according to the teaching community and education researchers it will not bring any benefit if the education system is not nationalized at the same time. There are a number of reasons why it is now imperative to nationalise education and the demands of teachers are reasonable so the government should look into its implementation right now. Education must be nationalised in order to eliminate all the corruption and inequalities that exist in the education sector. Experts believe that the division between government and non-government educational institutions is obvious and there is no alternative to nationalisation to eliminate it. In the case of non government teacher recruitment, it is necessary to nationalise the entire education system in order to get rid of various irregularities and extreme mismanagement.
Due to the monopoly of the governing body of non-government educational institutions and various mismanagement, education is lagging behind day by day and various kinds of dissatisfaction are appearing so it has to be nationalised at any cost. In order to ensure transparency and accountability in the education system, it is necessary to nationalise the education system at the same time. Non-government teachers are neglected in many ways and they try to express their problems on different platforms but they do not see the light of day so in the end they take refuge in the press club to demand nationalisation. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dreamed of building Sonar Bangla and he believed that development of education sector was the first requirement for building Sonar Bangla. He nationalised 37,000 primary schools in a proclamation in 1973 and established 12,000 new schools, recruited about half a million teachers and distributed free books at the same time. On July 26, 1972 he ordered to formulate an education policy headed by Dr. Md. Kudrat-i-Khuda which was up-to-date and realistic. He was working hard for a better education system but the assassins did not give him that opportunity. The overall development of education was severely hampered after 15th August, 1975 and at that time the position of non government teachers was more woeful. Non-government teachers continued their movement and in 980 they were included in the national pay scale. They were then paid 50 per cent of their salary from the state treasury and this was given every three months. But it was very difficult for them to make ends meet on this meager salary, so they started a movement to get what they deserved and after 20 years of continuous struggle, they started getting 100% salary from the government treasury. Bangladesh Awami League in its election manifesto promised separate salary structure for teachers but it did not see the light of day. Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has arranged for annual increment for non-government teachers and as a result non government teachers have been satisfied and benefited to some extent. MPO enlisted teachers now receive only a basic of their salary but are still deprived of house rent, festival allowance and other benefits. It has has not been conducted a specific and research survey on how much money is needed to nationalise the entire education system up to higher secondary level and what kind of challenges may be faced, but some fragmented and private surveys have been conducted. According to various fragmented surveys and education experts, it will not take much money to nationalise the education system up to higher secondary level as it is possible to do so with the added amount of salary from the students. In a proclamation in 2014, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina nationalised 26,193 non government registered primary schools and nationalised one degree college and one high school in each upazila of the country. But education experts and teachers believe that it is not enough for the overall development of education and the establishment of equitable education. The solution is to nationalise all education at once.
Most teachers believe that the government's plan to gradually nationalise the education system will increase the number of problems and intensify inequalities in educational institutions that have been excluded from nationalisation. Most of the teachers also believe that their demand for nationalisation is logical and there are various hurdles in the way of its implementation and one of them is bureaucratic complexity.
There are about 18 million students in grades six to twelve across the country and many believe that it is possible to nationalise the education system by adding some more money to their monthly salary and other fees. At present, MPO enlisted teachers and staff are paid around Tk. 9,100 crore per month from the state exchequer, including salaries, increment and festival allowances, and if this can be increased to Tk.15,000 crore, nationalisation does not matter. There are over five lakh MPO registered teachers and staff across the country and they are suffering from various problems including promotion, salary and other issues. Teachers from different parts of the country have gathered in front of the press club and they are continuing their movement there even in the severe winter.
Many teachers have gathered in Dhaka to take part in the movement. As a result, classes are not being held regularly in the educational institutions and the students are suffering. Teachers are demanding nationalisation of the education system and since their demand is reasonable, the government should take a proper survey and master plan in this regard and nationalize the education system at once. The nationalisation of the education system, on the one hand, will establish the status of teachers, on the other hand, will bring stability to the education system and at the same time, the post-education activities will be dynamic.
(Majhar Mannan is assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola,