Of public schools and their woes
UN SDG 4 promises equitable, inclusive, and quality education for all by 2030. With 2030 less than eight years away, and as the new fiscal year is set to begin, it's important to ask -- will the state of public schools remain unchanged?
More often than not, these schools are ill-equipped to begin with.
Jhuma Akhter, a seventh-grader at Kurni Jalal Uddin High School in Tangail's Mirzapur, said, "We don't have any labs or computer facilities in our school, nor do we get tiffin from the institution like some others."
Then there is the quality of teaching as well.
"Although some of my teachers are good, most hardly explain anything in classes. We have no choice but to get private tutors or go to coaching centres," said Zobaer Bin Zoha, an eighth-grader at Rajshahi Collegiate School.
Admittedly, a lack of accountability is creating "irresponsible" teachers. But can we expect quality from grossly underpaid teachers?
"Government school teachers do not get paid enough. Often, they engage in other economic activities or maintain another job," said Md Abdul Karim, headteacher of Tangail's Bindubasini Govt Boys' High School.
Meer Hannanur Rahman, assistant headteacher of Ishwardi's Govt Sara Marwari Model School and College, said in his teaching career of 26 years, he has received no increment after the eighth-year raise.
"With a basic salary of Tk 25,000, housing allowance of Tk 1,000 and Tk 500 medical allowance -- how are we expected to live? Sometimes, I buy daily necessities on loan, unable to pay, when the salary arrives a little later than usual. Yet, when I tell people I have a government job and do not get paid in time, they do not believe me."
"It's a tragedy," concludes Hannan.
Read more on this week's issue of SHOUT, out tomorrow with The Daily Star.