a year ago


Coping with new school curriculum

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Six months have passed since a new curriculum was introduced to schools in Bangladesh. Following this curriculum, first, sixth and seven graders were not yet required to sit for any conventional examinations. Rather, they are supposed to be assessed through various individual and group tasks, assignments, project-based work, etc. The education ministry calls it an initiative to make the lesson cycle enjoyable through experience-based learning. However, in reality, teachers, students and their parents are facing a lot of problems to cope up with the new curriculum.

The school teachers who are habituated to evaluate students through their exam scripts are still in the darkness about how they will assess the students. In the new curriculum, there is no provision for any examination up to class III. From class IV to VIII, 60 per cent of the evaluation for subjects like Bangla, English and science will be through continuous assessment and the rest 40 per cent through overall evaluation. That means we are talking about two assessments. However, how the half-yearly or yearly assessments or exams will be conducted is still not clear among the teachers. The guideline for student evaluation is now available online. But many teachers, who are not tech-savvy, hardly know anything about this guideline. Teachers are the main implementers of the new curriculum. But they are not prepared yet. The five-day in-person training most of the school teachers received is not enough. 

Many parents who used to teach their children at home are also facing problems. They have alleged that there is nothing to teach in the new curriculum. Some parents have even bought their children old math and science books so that they can improve their basic knowledge. Students are confused. What they know about the new curriculum is that there is no exam in their schools. So, they now pay least attention to their studies as there is no exam. Many of them are also indifferent to their class projects and assignments. Only a few in a classroom are serious about class projects. Others just follow or copy them. Moreover, a number of students have suffered a lot as all textbooks have not reached them on time.

In the new system, school students have no home work but have projects where they are required to talk to parents or people in different occupations and even take note and interview. Then they will have to write down their assignments. For example, a sixth grader is asked to compose an interview of a freedom fighter as an individual task. But isn't it difficult for a student of Class VI to manage a freedom fighter for an interview?

 The cost of conducting these class projects fall on the students and their parents. They are often asked to buy education materials like art paper, glue, marker and others for their class projects, which is not affordable to the low- and limited-income groups. It is a burden even for the middle-class families. Any change in the education system should come according to our socio-economic condition and affordability.

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