A seminar on areas of education and research held in morning session of concluding day (30th December) of the three-day conference. NRB Experts, who are working in educational development abroad, placed five papers in the session. They focused that how they can contribute to their motherland’s education system.
Farrukh Mohsen of Computer Literacy Program, New Jersey, USA moderated the session. Md Momtajul Islam, secretary to the Ministry of Education and M Musharaf Hossain Bhuiyan, secretary to the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, spoke at the session as government representatives.
In this session Dr Ataul Karim, vice-president, research, of Old Dominion University presented a keynote paper styled "How NRBs can Improve Education in Bangladesh" through videoconferencing.
He said Bangladesh’s public educational institutions have failed to yield expected results due to strong political interference. Such political interference also more or less compromised on quality education, he added. On the other hand, despite a boom in the private sector education in the last few years, it is motivated by profit, he observed.
"Prospect of state-owned educational institutions to be world class is becoming slim by the hour," he added.
Speaking on "Importance of Excellence in English Education in Bangladesh", Dr Fakruddin Ahmed placed stress on English learning from primary to higher education to compete in the global market. Thanks to their skills in English, other nations like India, China and Japan are reaping the benefits in the global market, he said.
He urged the NRBs to come forward to help the nation to develop English education in the country. "If the NRBs enjoy the fruits of knowing good English, why should we deprive our natives of the same privilege?"
In his presentation titled "Education System in Bangladesh", Jamal Uddin, head of community and primary languages, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, said there are no national standards or target to justify the quality of education. He suggested that school management and leadership be developed to ensure quality education.
Zeenat Nabi of Society to Help Education in Bangladesh International (Shebi), New Jersey, US, presented two case studies on how NRBs can help develop Bangladesh’s education. She said Shebi, a New Jersey-based non-profit organization of NRBs, is working to reduce the gap between the poor and the reach in terms of getting the opportunity of education. The organization has already donated $250,000 to Bangladesh to set up school-cum-cyclone shelters in the coastal belt. Another New Jersey-based organization named Computer Literacy Program (CLP) is also playing a significant role in providing computer education to the rural people, she said. In collaboration with local non-government organization D.Net, CLP has established 59 computer-learning centers in 29 districts.
Nabi said as many as 8,000 students have already taken computer literacy training from the CLP-D.Net project. Though NRBs’ efforts are still limited, significant success can be achieved in collaboration with the government and NGOs, she noted. She said such activities could be widened by establishing a coordination centre so that NRBs could link up with their country and contribute to educational development.
Speaking on Promoting Biotechnology, Dr Subarna Khan, development scientist in ImClone Systems, Inc, said the government should come forward to provide support to the NRBs so that they can transfer their skill.In such a case ‘Virtual Education’ could be a way to transfer educational skill to Bangladesh. Virtual education refers to instruction in a learning environment where time or space, or both separate teacher and students, and the teacher provides course content through course management applications, multimedia resources, Internet, and videoconferencing.
Dhaka University Microbiology Alumni Association of Maryland, US is raising a fund to donate educational equipment to the Alma Mater. "This is very little what we are doing. But if every department like us comes forward to do something that could be significant for the country," she said.
There is no alternative to training of the teachers, said the education secretary. "If we introduce demand-based vocational school program, the amount of remittances would be doubled," he pointed out. He said like all other sectors corruption is one of the major barriers to educational development of the country.
Speaking to the seminar expatriates have sought government help in transferring their educational skill achieved abroad in a bid to enlighten next generations in Bangladesh with world-class education. They said that global education curriculum changes every day to follow new innovations, ideas and thoughts, but Bangladesh still lags behind due to not having sustainable educational vision.
The primary and mass education secretary admitted that there is lack of quality teachers for public educational institutions. Citing an example, he said the government has recently announced to recruit 13,000 primary teachers. However, after holding an examination it got only 61 percent quality teachers against the requirement. As for training, he said 71 percent primary teachers have been trained. He however said anyone could question the quality of training, adding that a mechanism is needed to justify the teaching standard before and after the training.