Call to ban coaching business
The system of coaching should be banned to help children develop the creative knack and to put an end to commercialisation of education, said academics.
The call comes as the education ministry is due to hold a crucial meeting on the “coaching business” of schoolteachers today.
The country's education system seems to have become inextricably intertwined with the practice of private coaching and tutorials, they said.
A section of teachers of prominent schools and colleges in Dhaka are making easy money out of this practice by shirking their classroom duties and creating situations where the students are forced to take tuitions beyond school hours, they added.
“Coaching becomes necessary because the teachers do not give proper attention and best output in the classroom, prompting the guardians to send their children to coaching centres in order to get good results,” said noted educationist Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury.
“Coaching should be banned,” he told The Daily Star.
Since the teachers earn huge money from coaching, they give extra care to the students here unlike in a classroom setting.
Private coaching makes the children much dependent on teachers, hampering their (children) creative faculty from flourishing, and creates a line of discrimination among the students as those coming from poor families cannot afford it, educationists added.
A walk through the city found many walls covered with posters that claim of coaching service with guaranteed GPA-5 or A+ results for the students.
But, such guarantee is rarely shown by a teacher in classroom teaching.
Though the education ministry recognised this practice as a problem, it only responded formally by issuing a circular last August that stated that teachers can take an hour-long extra class for the weak students in exchange of Tk 175 per class.
However, this instruction was also not followed, said the teachers.
Later on September 14 last year, President Ziaul Kabir Dulu of Obhibhabok Oikya Forum, a platform of guardians, filed a writ petition with the High Court (HC) on the grave matter.
The HC, on October 17, issued a rule asking the government to explain why it should not be directed to stop the teachers working at coaching centres and why it should not be directed to enact a law in this regard.
Against this backdrop, the education ministry convenes a meeting to find out a way to stop coaching, said the ministry sources.
Representatives of the Cabinet Division, Prime Minister's Office, Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban Secretariat, law ministry, home ministry, different directorates of education ministry and heads of 14 prominent schools in the capital will be attending the meeting today.
“We will take a decision about coaching after consulting with all stakeholders,” said Education Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury.
Prof Serajul said teachers try to substitute their poor remuneration at the schools by giving private tuitions.
The educationist suggested increasing teachers' salary and strengthening school monitoring mechanism to check whether teachers are delivering class lectures properly.
The petitioner Dulu said, “Additional classes can be taken for the weak students, but what we want is to stop the coaching business of teachers that are mushrooming the country.”
Manju Ara Begum, acting principal of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, said, “Coaching should be stopped and, if the government formulates an act in this regard, we will follow that,” she told The Daily Star yesterday.
“Awareness of the guardians is a must. Without solely depending on teachers, they will also have to monitor what their kids are learning from the classes,” she said.
Mohammad Azizul Islam, president of Bangladesh Teachers Association, said the government must strive for improving classroom teaching and brining down the teacher student ratio.