At least one short-cut solution to the crisis of education has been discovered at last! The Dhaka University authorities have concluded that allowing a fewer number of students to enrol with the university would contribute to improvement in quality of its educational outputs.
While announcing reduction in the number of seats for entrants at undergraduate level next time, they, however, did not explain how such a decision would help to automatically build the learners as skilled human resources.
Talks made their rounds on the campus in the late 1980s that the number of students should be restricted at universities so that only the extraordinary talents got enrolled and maintained the desired standards.
The subsequent decades saw explosion of university students and introduction of more disciplines not just to accommodate a higher number of learners but more importantly a greater number of teachers and their leadership positions. The current DU administration might have looked back and tried to start from the past.
In fact, how students could be provided with better education, unless better teaching is offered, has not been argued for long. As if the Bangladeshi universities don't need to make or hire quality teachers for ensuring success of their pupils.
When secondary level students in general failed to cope with the so-called creative courses in public exams, it was argued that there was a serious shortage of capable teachers to run the curriculum free of copying from textbooks.
That discussion was finished there! Rarely is there any attempt to attract the creative talents to teaching, by establishing the profession truly as a dignified one, socially and otherwise.
Now, the nation demands a massive number of qualified teachers but posts are not vacant for entry of many, especially fresh blood. Even if posts are made available, there is no guarantee that the most brilliant candidate would be selected.
So, why would the best students blessed with self-esteem join the uneven competition to come to teaching? Already, some other professions, especially civil service, and better educational opportunities elsewhere, are luring them away.
Educators like Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed often regrets that none of the junior scholars wants to be a teacher these days.
The result is obvious but another question may arise: Isn't this a failure of the existing teachers to present themselves as the guru of the change makers?
This vacuum was created with an overwhelming emphasis on engineering, medical and business studies as career goals for decades.
It's also the family and society that dictate young minds to pursue education and profession other than teaching. The job of making a boy or a girl a human being proper is no longer a priority - what a fallacy!
The country today suffers on account of deficiency of a required pool of sound teachers. A large number has become teachers incidentally, finding no other options or founded commercial ventures in the name of educational institutions.
A teacher is the first hero of a school-going child and the lifelong guide of a university student. Reputed teachers were widely revered well beyond the schools and colleges where they taught. That's sadly a thing of the past.
The decline in passion and dedication of teachers has been reflected in the degradation of values in all spheres.
Almost extinct are the 'exceptional' teachers who can deny society's whims and aberrations. Some teachers nowadays complain their students do not respect them. In conversation with this scribe, a foreign teacher said time has changed; 'a modern-day teacher has to earn respect'.
In 1985, a political science teacher, Mr. Fazlul Haque, who was then vice principal at Nagarpur College, Tangail, asked his students to dream big but remain humble. "People these days call someone bagher bachcha or the cub of a tiger to appreciate his audacity in society; but we want manusher bachcha or children of human beings and our job is to make them better human beings," he said during an orientation programme.
Unfortunately, we've largely deviated from the tradition of showing admiration for learned people. Thus we want solving problems of education without addressing the main issue of raising standard of teaching.