Rural students keep cutting sorry figure
Dearth of skilled teachers, facilities blamedMohiuddin Alamgir
Educationalists and officials blamed a dearth of skilled teachers, lack of infrastructures such as laboratories and libraries in colleges in rural areas for the poor performance of students in such as areas in public examinations.
Results of the Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations that were published on Saturday have shown that students of rural areas cutting a sorry figure against their fellows in urban areas.
As in the past, students of educational institutions in urban areas did well than the students from institutions in rural although the government claims that it has taken measures to address the rural-urban disparity.
No government colleges in rural areas could earn a place among the 10 best institutions in four general education boards — Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, and Dinajpur.
One such institution each in Rajshahi and Jessore could be in the top ten under the boards. Two institutions from rural areas in Comilla and four in Barisal could slide into the 10 best institutions under the boards.
The boards make the list based on criteria of the number of regular examinees, the total number of examinees, pass percentage, the number of GPA 5 achievers, and the average GPA in the institutions.
The system was introduced in 2010. The education ministry prepares lists of top 20 colleges in each of the eight general education boards, the Madrassah Education Board and the Technical Education Board.
In the Barisal board, Amtali College and Patharghata College in Barguna, Shahid Smriti College in Pirojpur and Syed Azizul Haque College in Wazirpur, all in rural areas, ranked the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth.
Sonar Bangla College at Burichang in Comilla and Kazi Mohammad Shafiqul Islam College n Brahamanbaria ranked the eight and 10th in Comilla education board from rural areas.
Ullapara Science College in Sirajganj ranked the seventh in the Rajshahi education board and Sheikh Akiz Uddin Higher Secondary School at Jhikargachha in Jessore trailed the best 10 institutions in the Jessore education board.
A number of cadet colleges, however, are among the best institutions and educationalists said that these colleges were highly privileged educational institutions.
Educationalists and officials said that these institutions were mostly located in upazila headquarters.
Results of the public examinations are worse in the case of institutions in remote, backward areas.
They said that educational institutions in rural areas had failed to make their mark as students in such rural areas do not get the same level of private tuition as their fellows in urban areas do. And most of the upper and upper middle class families in rural areas send their children to institutions in urban areas, which is another reason of the poor result of rural institutions.
Students in urban areas could get benefits of coaching, private tuition, better guidance and management. Guardians in urban areas spend more on the education of students than the guardians in rural areas do.
An education ministry official said how colleges in rural areas could do better in exams when most of the colleges, including the government ones, did not have quality teachers. ‘There are more teaches than what are required in government colleges in the capital while there are many teaching positions vacant in government colleges in rural areas.’
Dhaka University professor emeritus Anisuzzaman told New Age that there was a dearth of skilled, quality teachers and teaching materials in rural educational institutions.
Academic environment in urban institutions is better than what it is in rural areas, he added.
Former University Grants Commission chairman Nazrul Islam said that there had been little progress in addressing the rural-urban disparity in the education system as the gap is widening each day.
He said that the urban-rural balance in the education system had been destroyed. Colleges in rural areas lack infrastructure and efficient and trained teachers, resulting in a poor education quality in such areas.
The financial support for urban students is better than that for rural students, he said. There is a lack of infrastructures such as laboratories, libraries and others the rural colleges.
‘Educational institutions in rural areas usually suffer when the question of performance comes,’ he said.
Nazrul said, ‘Cadet colleges do brilliant results as their expenditures are 10 times the money spent on a normal college.’
The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka chairman, Taslima Begum, also said that there was a dearth of quality teachers in subjects such as English, mathematics and science subjects
‘Colleges in rural areas do not get skilled teachers in many subjects even after advertising the positions repeatedly,’ she said.
She said that students in rural areas did not get coaching and private tuition that the urban students get as they cannot afford that.
The Comilla education board chairman, Oliur Rahman, said that also the students in rural areas who do well in exams move to urban areas. He said that it was really difficult to ensure equal opportunities for all.
The overall pass percentage and the number of GPA 5 scorers in Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations this year have marked a sharp decline.
The combined pass percentage is 74.30 which is 4.37 percentage point lower than the figure of 78.67 in the past year.
The number of students who scored the grade point average of 5 this year is 58,197, down by 2,965 compared with the figure of 61,162 in the past year.
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