Any sort of undue privilege towards a particular group of people naturally breeds disaffection and anger among those duly deserve the given privilege. The toughest ever challenge for any authority is to deal out justice ensuring a level playing ground.
Obviously, I am talking about the bitterly disputed and much controversial issue of institutional nationalisation in our education sector. Though the process began with apparently a good intention of aiming at the maximum promotion of education and the optimum well-being of the concerned staff and the teachers, the way the process was launched was indubitably a faulty one since it was not based on non-partisan principles. Frankly speaking, innumerable non-governmental institutions have been nationalised indiscriminately ever since our independence in 1971 and the only policy pursued here is evidently the sweet will of the party in power at a particular time.
If we opt for the cosmetic promotion of our national education, then it is one thing. However, when we really mean promotion of quality education for all, then it categorically refers to a diametrically opposed concept and the first pre-requisite of this quality education is to ensure the availability of resourceful and competent faculties well-equipped to face the challenges of the time. The bland truth regarding the nationalised educational institutions eloquently speaks that faculties in most of these institutions have been appointed through mere formalities following the match fixing procedures. Can we logically expect quality classroom teaching from them? Paradoxically, we call for quality education even though we know the fact that quality education is hardly possible by incompetent teachers.
The existing nationalisation process neither promotes the quality education nor does it serve the interests of the bulk of the stake-holders. Rather, it has planted the sapling of division, disparity, contempt, anger, anguish and disillusionment among the Bangladeshi people who fought against the Pakistani occupation forces with a rock solid unity and solidarity. What an irony! We blame the Pakistanis for mounting disparity against us while we ourselves are clearly depriving us of our genuine human rights and due share in national resources and opportunities. It sounds quite non-sense when a head of state declares a newly-fledged union level college to be a government college while quite a number of veteran colleges with competent and experienced faculties are left aside. I can hardly understand the mystery of this promotion policy.
It is a proven truth that nationalisation of the educational institutions without nationalising the education itself only serves the vested interests and hardly helps achieve the highest common good of the overwhelming majority. Though the fortunate teachers were upgraded in status and dignity overnight in the event of nationalisation is obviously my concern, the pathetically helpless defeat of innovations and potentialities to gross politics and partisan interests bleeds me profusely.
Apart from our strong commitment to UN declaration of education for all, the article 17 of our Constitution assures and confirms free elementary education for all. Isn’t it clearly the case of undermining and trashing our Constitution and our commitment to UN declaration when we go for protecting the interests of the specially chosen few? All our serious commitments automatically become just mere rhetoric when we speak one thing but practise the diametrically opposed one. Indeed, we are practising double-standard.
Once this muscle majority is established as the reference of regular benchmark in serious decisions, it will ring an alarm bell for all potentially talented and resourceful persons. In a highly sensitised world of social media, any culture of giving and receiving undue privilege will be exposed before the global community in the soonest possible time. It will surely lead us towards an identity crisis. Hardly any nation of the world ever plays tricks with education for partisan interests.
It is a practical example of our brazen partisan morbidity that even though in one hand we officially select the teachers for both public schools and colleges through a strict filtering process of the BCS Examinations under the direct management of constitutional institution named Bangladesh Public Service Commission then promotion and upgrading of a specially privileged handful few without examining their profile as well as papers let alone taking any selection test will quite naturally and logically cause severe heartburns and disillusionment in the minds of thousands of other competent and better qualified deprived ones both in papers and profiles.
Since 2010 onwards, the government has pursuing a core policy of nationalising one secondary school and one college in each upazila by phases. In line with this policy of nationalisation, already many non-governmental educational institutions have already been declared government ones. When the teachers and the staff of these nationalised institutions are enlisted as the government servants, it is a bland fact to any sane person that it hardly brings about any qualitative change in the pattern of classroom teaching by the same teachers who were private ones yesterday.
Revision and if possible replacement of this discriminatory and lopsided policy by a balanced, justified and above all people-friendly one will have to be done on the most urgent basis for the greater interest of solidified national unity as well as for promoting the genuine cause of quality education. Without going through different tiers of exams in the filtering process of selection, anyone can ethically claim to be qualified and competent one especially in respect of service either in private or public sector.
The writer is an Assistant Professor
of English, Bogra Cantonment
Public School & College.