The menace of private coaching has now fully overtaken teaching at the schools all over the country. The very teachers, who are supposed to teach the students at the schools, have opened up private coaching centres at rented premises. These coaching centres are doing a good business in the name of tutoring the students. All subjects are taught at the coaching centres, no matter whether the students need the same. In some cases, the students are compelled to attend these privately-run coaching classes by their teachers.
Teaching for money is there everywhere in the world but charging money for teaching privately is not at all desirable. A teacher who is employed on a full-time basis by a school cannot run a parallel school just for money. But this is the case in Bangladesh.
The business of coaching by the teachers is going on in full swing in front of everyone's eyes. The high-ups in the government are heard warning occasionally that this menace must be stopped, but it never got stopped. In the past, the business of coaching was taken secretly by a group of teachers, but now there is nothing to hide about it; and no wonder, it is flourishing like any other commercial enterprise.
The regulation issued by the Ministry of Education with regard to teaching strictly prohibits private teaching by the teachers against payment outside the school premises. But this prohibition remained on paper only; as a result, this business has gathered strength overtime. It seems as though there is no choice for the students but to attend private coaching. The guardians have also accepted it as fait accompli. The guardians now fully believe nothing is taught at the schools; schools are there only for registration and teaching is done at the coaching centres.
The government has made education fully free at the schools and at the colleges, partly. Students need not pay any tuition fee; if they are to pay at all, the fees are very small. But the coaching business outside the schools has turned the whole system of education costly. Guardians with limited incomes are finding it difficult to finance education for their wards. Batches after batches of students are entering and coming out from the coaching centres. But nobody is protesting this illegal business. As the government has prohibited private coaching for money, these centres should have been closed down by the law enforcing authorities long ago but no action is yet visible. The worst evil embedded in the coaching centres is that teachers running them discriminate among their students. They award higher marks to the students attending their coaching classes. This type of discriminatory act is a crime under the normal law of the country, but hardly ever any teacher got caught and punished.
The moral degradation of students starts from the schools when they see their teachers taking money for giving them higher marks. Though ideally, teachers were supposed to be noble and scholarly and teach the students in the classrooms using the best of their talents, the prevailing scenario presents a totally different, even disgusting picture. These teachers directly or indirectly encourage the students to go to the private coaching centres. Some of the coaching centres attract the students with the idea that if they attended these centres, they would pass with the higher grades.
Teaching privately for money the very students who were supposed to be taught at the schools by the same teachers should be declared a criminal offence. If there is no law to this effect at present, a new law should be enacted soon. Law enforcers should raid these coaching centres, and teachers found to be teaching their own students privately for money should be brought to book.
Also, as a part of discouraging private coaching, schools should be brought under strict monitoring. Teachers found to be absent in the schools or negligent in teaching in classes should be fired. Competent and impartial people should be inducted in the management committees of the academic institutions. If school committees are politicised, then there can be no proper supervision of the schools.
The writer is Professor of Economics at the University of Dhaka.
© 2017 - All Rights with The Financial Express