Teachers\' aptitude in question
Nilratan Halder | Published:
March 03, 2016 22:02:41
October 25, 2017 01:44:09
The much vaunted balloon of structured questions, popularly known as creative method of evaluating merit of students, has ruptured. A survey conducted countrywide by none other than the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) found that more than 40 per cent secondary schools fail to set structured question papers for examinations held in their schools. Teachers there either purchase question papers from teachers' associations or take help from their colleagues of other schools in preparing such questions. Over 16 per cent and 23 per cent of them respectively purchase prepared questions and seek help in preparation of question papers in order to conform to the system. Many of them simply copy or follow guidebooks for the purpose.
This surely is a reflection on the aptitude of those teachers. Their lacking in comprehension of the topics they teach is exposed. If the teachers had thorough knowledge of what they teach day after day, they should not have found difficulty in asking questions -no matter whatever the type. Even those who are smarter enough to shape such questions are not necessarily creative in their approach. The quality of questions -both separate and the set - is not beyond doubt. This survey sheds light on this particular aspect confirming many people's scepticism about any real improvement in teaching and learning.
In this context, the many errors this year's question papers of the Secondary School Certificate examinations under different education boards contained cannot be considered isolated incidents. As many as 11 mistakes were found in the Mathematics question paper under the Jessore Board. Dhaka, Rajshahi and Chittagong boards are guilty of subjecting examinees to similar harassment and anxiety with errors ranging from three to seven in different question papers. Passing it lightly as an oversight will not do. It focuses on the quality of teachers and the overall systemic weakness in education in this country.
If the purpose is to resurrect the system of education from degeneration into the proverbial parrot-like imitation, the first task would be to deploy a highly efficient and creative crop of teachers. Training imparted to teachers for a short duration has proved inadequate. The majority of those involved with the profession at the primary, secondary and even higher secondary levels are teachers by default. Had they have a better option, they would not have opted for teaching. How much creativity or inventiveness can be expected from them?
Even those ranking higher in proficiency index are rarely doing justice to the profession. Their involvement either in coaching business or guidebook writing for some fat publishing houses has taken life out of them. Their devotion to spinning money rather than to preparing students through classroom teaching has long faded. Fossilised, teaching in classroom has done the greatest harm to school education. The introduction of public examinations for Class V and Class VIII has only helped boost the coaching business even more rampantly.
In this situation, the quality of education is sure to dip further. If the makers themselves are either incompetent or dishonest to their avocation, students cannot be blamed for looking for the short-cut to higher scores. So prolific are the guidebooks in the market that a SSC or HSC student or examinee is most likely to be confused about their choice for the same. In many cases, they procure a whole range of those and get depressed by the sheer size of those cure-all prescriptions.
Their production is unthinkable without active collaboration by front runners in the teaching job. Well, there may be a few substandard productions, but invariably the leading publishers hire the best hands available to produce guidebooks containing sample questions. Then there are also suggestions and test papers for examinees to solve. Solutions to such questions too are available. Wonder of wonders, all these are legally banned. Commercial coaching too has some restrictions. But hardly anyone complies with such rules and regulations.
Clearly, in the name of structured questions, students are now under heavier pressures from assorted guidebooks. They are deprived of their childhood because of the burden. Yet they are hardly taught to explore their creativity within. What an injustice today's education is doing to this generation! One feels pity for them. Those who conform to the system achieve excellent scores. But there are non-conformist who cannot adapt to the system. Unless genius, they lose out to the repressive system.
No wonder, some prefer English medium education because there is no such awful infiltration of guidebooks and supervision by inefficient teachers. Students have to rely on textbooks and their teacher's guidance in order to develop their own critical faculties for appreciation. This is however not the case for all English medium schools. Yet at least students in many of those are not subjected to inhuman torture of coaching and guidebook assistance.
It is, therefore, critical to make the country liberated from the invasion of coaching and guidebooks. To do this, the number one requisite is to recruit teachers capable of teaching the subject well in classrooms. The next in order is to ban commercial coaching. Teachers will be required to help out laggards after the class. Finally, guidebooks will have to be totally banned not just on paper but in reality.