Teachers with no formal training mostly staff the Qawmi madrasas in Bangladesh, said a World Bank (WB) report.
A staggering 82 percent of math teachers there are untrained. Around 80 percent English teachers in Qawmi madrasas are untrained while it is 44 percent in Aliyah madrasas and 19 percent in general schools, the report said.
The WB yesterday arranged a publication ceremony of the report styled "Secondary School Madrasa in Bangladesh: Incidence, quality and implication for reform" at a city hotel.
M Niaz Asadullah, lecturer of Department of Economics of Reading University and a visiting fellow of Oxford University, presented the key findings of the study at the ceremony.
The study found that although the madrasas have played a significant role in increasing student's enrolment in institutions, the quality of higher secondary level madrasa education remains a major challenge. According to it, at secondary level nearly one out of five children attends madrasas, mostly in registered ones.
It, however, said the overall quality of secondary level education across the country is low and urged the government to focus more on the sector to improve the standard of education in Bangladesh.
The report suggested that the government engages in a dialogue with Qawmi madrasa representatives to explore options such as introducing modern subjects and forming of a regulatory body to oversee the overall improvement.
The research team administered four tests to over 9,000 grade-VIII students of 400 secondary schools and madrasas to assess their learning outcomes. They found that on an average the students answered 35 percent math questions correctly. The success rate is even poorer for English, 33 percent.
However, the students correctly answered 75 percent of the questions related to Islam.
The study also found that Qawmi madrasas account for only 2.2 percent of the total enrolment in the secondary level while Aliyah madrasas 18.5 percent although the physical presence of Qawmi madrasas is higher than Aliyah madrasas.
Speaking as the chief guest, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said the government is planning to bring the Qawmi madrasa education system closer to the mainstream.
He also said a committee comprised of the leaders of Qawmi madrasa would soon be formed to formulate a policy.
World Bank country Director Ellen Goldstein, its Sector Manager for Education in South Asia Amit Dar and Senior Education Specialist Helen J Craig, and former additional secretary of education ministry Asahabur Rahman also spoke at the ceremony.