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24 January, 2020 10:46:15 AM
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English medium schools becoming more expensive

Mosharrof Hossain
English medium schools becoming more expensive

The High Court recently declared that collecting session fees from English medium school students is illegal. The verdict was delivered in response to two writ petitions filed in 2012 and 2014 regarding session fees and VAT collection. The court also issued a list of directions for English medium schools authorities across the country. The Ministry of Education was also asked for publishing a circular within one month to notify the school authorities of the HC directives.

Education ministry had been ordered to file a compliance report before the court after six months to inform it whether the English medium schools were following the directives. According to the directives, each English medium school will need to form a managing committee under the Registration of Private Schools Ordinance 1962 and the private school registration rule 2007 comprising guardians or their representatives, teachers and the school

authorities.

The committee will have the authority to appoint qualified teachers and staff following properly the advertisement. This will ensure that no “backdoor” appointments are made by the school owners. It will also set the teacher and staff salaries and other benefits and determine the admission and tuition fees without interference from the owners.

The court further mandated that independent audits need to be carried out for each school’s expenditure and the reports must be made available on the schools’ websites. While inquiry over telephone, the officials of some English medium schools, including Green Gem and Maple Leaf, they said that they didn’t take re-admission fee. When asked about the managing committee, they express their ignorance about it.

When some guardians were asked, they answered that the rules had not been implemented yet. The yearly tuition fees were cut but this fee was included in monthly tuition fee. On the other hand, the authorities claim that they have cut the annual tuition fee which is burden for the guardians.  

Coaching or tutoring has become so ingrained in Dhaka that parents of English medium schools children feel they must conform and hire private tutors, otherwise,   their child’s performance in school will be jeopardised.

The consensus we found regarding both Bangla-medium and English-medium schools is that teachers do not teach thoroughly in the classroom, but ironically, they expect the students to thoroughly learn the lessons.

Since it is difficult for the students to understand the complex concepts of mathematics or other sciences, students go to tutors to fill the gap. Many students take coaching three hours a day, five days a week. They believe that they earn more from her coaching teachers than their school teachers.

Parents irrespective of higher level and lower level of income, send their children to coaching. The guardians of mid-level of income face difficulty to bear educational expenses of their kids.

Some guardians of English medium schools prefer English medium to Bangla medium despite high tuition fees. They want to send their kids abroad and for this reason they prefer English medium. Some think that English medium students can learn more English than Bangla medium students. Many guardians believe that those who come from English medium get good job.  

While Bangladesh strives to provide free primary education for all school, coaching may undo much of the good work that this act generated. Coaching is perceived as necessary for better performance in school but the ground reality is money and class-consciousness in the society directly determine how much coaching a student receives, and apparently, how well he or she performs.

We cannot judge whether our existing teaching system is successful and therefore the coaching business is changing with the time. Many teachers make extra income from private tutoring, creating a need that repeats itself, according to Sherman Moreino, a student at BRAC University and tutor at Summation Coaching Center in Dhaka.

Coaching affects the daily life of a family in Bangladesh by taking away time that children can spend for extracurricular activities like sports, music or dance. However, parents and children demand quality education, but they believe they only get it through quality coaching.

English medium schools students are not competent enough to study in Dhaka University. That is why the HC emphasized the need for English medium schools to focus on teaching Bangla language, especially till the eighth grade, so that all students are comfortably able to comprehend, read and write in Bangla.

This happens not because of their level of competency, but because of lack of information and guidance. They study a completely different curriculum; do not have access to study materials, sample questions papers, no guidance. Because of these reasons, most English medium students choose not to go through so much trouble and end up (often unwillingly) studying in expensive private universities.

Moreover, there is a widespread belief that University of Dhaka (DU) has severe session jams, political chaos and poor facilities. But the reality is the current batches of Business Studies (FBS) and departments like Economics and Development Studies don’t have any session jams. In fact, students finish their undergraduate programmes in 4 years or less.

 While Institute of Business Administration (IBA) is very popular with English medium students, they are often misinformed about other parts of DU. Many people don’t even know that IBA is a part of DU!  

It is the dream of every student to get into the best public university of the country whether he is a Bangla medium, Madrassa, or English medium student. But as English medium students grow up following foreign curriculum, a gap is created.  When the question of getting into a public university through admission tests comes, it is more accessible for a Bangla medium or Madrassa

student than an English medium student.

However, the government should come forward to take initiatives against high tuition fees of English medium schools.

The writer is a journalist of The Independent

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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