For a quality education system
Despite the recent success of Bangladesh in terms of GDP growth, exports earnings, etc , the question remains if the country could have done much better in these and other indicators of economic progress.
Most experts would agree that Bangladesh’s economic development could be more stable and sustained if it were built on a solid foundation of a highly-educated workforce, a quality educational system (especially in sciences, technologies and vocational training), and supportive policies that provide the necessary foundation for a modern science and technology-based economy.
A determined and progressive national leadership must work to change the present culture that patronize general education and even redundant forms of education, to improve the quality of higher education, to establish more efficient management processes, to seek alliances with the international scientific community, and to create private and public sector partnerships for achieving the desired results.
Looking at the present educational scenario in Bangladesh one finds little more than tokenism in response to the need of building up an educational system suitable for meeting the needs of a dynamic economy.
Worldwide, the experience has been that national power and economic power depends too vitally on making human resources out of people. To make the human resources, the most important requirement is education but that education must be of a kind that enable humans to become the makers and doers of things.
Unfortunately, in Bangladesh, notwithstanding apparent pursuits of governmental educational policies, the main structures in the educational systems continue to produce persons with general education having little actual application in industries, services and the professions.
The education system still allows for a huge number of so called students to take degrees in literature, language, humanities and theology. But under the present circumstances when Bangladesh needs knowledge in far greater degrees to create doers and movers of things than idle theorists or romanticists, it becomes very much questionable how far it is sensible to drag on– so disproportionately compared to actual need — the burden and waste incurred in the latter form of education.
Former President Obama of the USA in his recent address to American people declared the vow of his administration to turn a completely new leaf in the educational system. The USA used to be the topmost country in the world in everything including education.
But the former US President in his speech noted how his country was overtaken by others in the sphere of education. In fact, the position of the USA has slid down in many areas of education in comparison to other nations. President Obama considered the decline in USA’s greatness as stemming largely from the decline in its educational system that has eroded its competitiveness in the global economy.
Today’s Malaysia is a shining example of what visionary leaders can do to change the fate of their nation by promoting education which is truly suitable for economic growth and development. Under its long standing former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammad, great emphasis was put on sustaining an education system based on making human resource. That policy paid great dividends by bringing Malaysia to the level of economic attainments it enjoys today. There is a lesson to be learnt by Bangladeshi leaders from all these.
They must graduate out from their role of only paying lip service to the cause of education appropriate to meeting the challenges of the 21st century.
They must make up their minds to take the ‘decisive’ steps to thoroughly reform the archaic prevalent systems of education.
The redundant forms of education meaning particularly religious education and general education must be limited to make greater resources available for science and technology based education, vocational education and need based education. The entire education system must be calibrated to meet the needs of a dynamic and forward moving technology oriented society.