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CA spells out setbacks to education PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 03 March 2008

Staff Correspondent

Chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed said Sunday that national commitments to advancing the educational system in Bangladesh were at risk of remaining unrealised despite recent advances.

The chief adviser made his remarks at a conference on education at the International Conference Centre. "Children disadvantaged by extreme poverty or special needs often do not get educated.

Unacceptable inequalities therefore persist alongside widening of quality gaps," Fakhruddin said. The chief adviser highlighted some of the main challenges facing the education sector, such as the increasing urban-rural divide in teaching standards.

The CA said the solution required a "core curriculum irrespective of the type of institution and provider of services". Obstacles to good governance in education, Fakhruddin said, include a dearth of professional skills and centralised decision-making, which undermined transparency and accountability.

The CA pointed to the many well-known NGOs in the country that had promoted "internationally acclaimed innovations" in education, which constituted "a major social capital for the nation".

"Examples of excellence have also sprung up through the efforts of communities, and sometimes around government schools," Fakhruddin said.

The barriers between government and non-government programmes must be bridged to achieve educational goals, said the CA. "Education institutions can this way be made truly responsive and fully answerable to the local community," he said.

The chief adviser called for increased cohesion between education service providers within local government areas to ensure that every child could access the minimum agreed standard of instruction.

The private sector and NGOs should be encouraged to establish and manage learning centres for children and adults by treating them as the building blocks of a "learning society".

The CA also stressed the need for "high-quality" vocational and technical education for those that fell through the mainstream education net. Bangladesh currently devotes around two percent of its GDP for public sector education, he said. "This ratio needs to double within the next decade.

Our educational goals and development aspirations cannot be realised without such investment," said the CA. Fakhruddin said he believed Bangladesh Television was capable of setting up a 24-hour education channel.

Such a channel, he said, could provide teacher training and English courses as well as supplement classroom instruction. The conference was organised by UNESCO's Dhaka office in collaboration with the education ministry and the Institute of Educational Development at BRAC University.

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