The government decided to modify 12 textbooks of class nine and ten in order to make those easier for students to learn, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday said.
Committees under the guidance of the country's noted educationists and experts have been working to this end. Students will get the new versions of the textbooks next year, Nahid said.
The subjects are Bangla Literature, English for Today, Bangladesh and Global Studies, Bangladesh and World Civilisation, mathematics, higher mathematics, general science, physics, chemistry, biology, economics and accounting.
"We want to make the textbooks simpler so that students find those easier to learn."
Besides, an effort is on to bring down the number of textbooks so that students of different classes can be relieved of unnecessary study burden.
The education minister made the decisions public at a press briefing after a meeting with educationists on improving the quality of secondary education at his ministry in the secretariat.
Amid a debate over the standards of education at the secondary level, the ministry last year began a process to improve the quality.
As part of the effort, the ministry in May last year organised a workshop in Dhaka where leading educationists pointed out that the curriculum and textbooks of secondary education were too difficult and complex, forcing students to turn to guidebooks and private tuitions.
In another workshop in Cox's Bazar in November last year, experts suggested making textbooks simpler, dropping a few subjects at Secondary School Certificate level and holding public exams with unified question papers.
In the light of the expert opinions, the ministry in January this year formed two committees comprising academicians to review curriculum and modify some textbooks.
The changes are being made under an educationist, Nahid said.
Shyamoli Nasrin Chowdhury, former principal of Udayan Higher Secondary School, will be leading a team to modify the textbook of Bangla Literature while Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam English for Today.
Dhaka University teachers Prof MM Akash and Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman are working to modify economics and Bangladesh and Global Studies textbooks, and Prof Taslima Begum, former chairman of Dhaka Board, is changing the textbook of Bangladesh and World Civilisation.
Prof Muhammad Zafar Iqbal and Prof Mohammad Kaikobad are modifying mathematics, higher mathematics, general science, physics, chemistry and biology, and Prof Mizanur Rahman of DU the accounting book.
Asked about changes already done in Bangla textbooks, Prof Zafar Iqbal said, "We hope that Shyamoli Nasrin Chowdhury will save us from this issue [changing of textbook contents as per demands of Hefajat-e Islam]. She will modify the book keeping in mind the spirit and values of the Liberation War."
Prof MM Akash said he would correct mistakes, if any, and make complex issues simpler.
"We will consider any content that goes against our constitution," he added.
STANDARDISATION OF ANSWER SCRIPTS
The education minister announced that the government had introduced standardisation of answer-scripts in public examinations with a view to bringing discipline in the evaluation system.
The process was introduced in the SSC exams in February this year.
During the exams, students were provided with model answers and a mark scheme to check the papers, Nahid said, adding that the initiative was taken following a research conducted by Bangladesh Examination Development Unit (BEDU).
Explaining further, Chowdhury Mufad Ahmed, additional secretary of the ministry, said it was found in the research that different examiners gave different marks to same answer scripts.
The head examiners developed a standard model of answers and a mark scheme on the basis of discussions.
The ministry also provided training to the head examiners in evaluating answer scripts as per model answers, Mufad Ahmed said, adding that steps had also been taken to hold examiners accountable.