Significance In Bangladesh Perspective
Gazi Md. Abdur Rashid :
The present government is better known and popular as education friendly than any other government in the past. Realizing the importance of technical education, the government disbanded the Ministry of Education in 2016 and separated it into Technical and Madrasa Education. It is the responsibility of the Technical Education Department to determine, develop and coordinate the technical education as a whole.
Technical schools and colleges provide Technical Education from 9 to 12 grade, but the main institution of technical education is 49 government polytechnic institutes; where over one lakh students are studying in Diploma in Engineering in 32 technologies. In addition, there are also 1,161 private polytechnic institutes with more than 1,00,000 students.
Even in the 2009, students in technical education accounted for 3 percent of the total students. The increase in the number of seats in polytechnics has come 17 percent in 2019. The government's goal is to raise it to 20 percent in 2021 and to 30 percent in 2030. In order to expand technical education, the government has a new polytechnic in 23 districts where there is no polytechnic; Women polytechnic in the excluded divisional city and decided to set up a technical school in each upazila. Four more engineering colleges have been allowed in ECNEC. Some of them are in land acquisition, some under construction. These steps in expanding technical education are undoubtedly appreciated.
There is no alternative to technical education to make Bangladesh a better state. Technical education is in the backdrop of development in Singapore, Malaysia. The technical education rate there is about 60 percent. Hopefully, Bangladesh is moving towards following their model. We also hope that before 2041, Bangladesh will become a developed state by the technical education. But this requires far-reaching planning and proper implementation. The technical education problems must be identified first. Then it is necessary to take effective initiatives to resolve them.
Some visible problems and its solutions in technical education-(1) The teacher crisis is acute in polytechnics. Just to keep technical education active, there is no way to deny the teachers' contribution to successful teaching of a large number of students from 3 percent to 17 percent, Therefore, if we want to make technical education more dynamic, we will have to utilize the long experience, skills and talents of these experienced teachers. By eliminating the uncertainty of their job through revenue generation, all these talent will be able to contribute towards achieving the desired goals of technical education. (2) The second shift started with the teacher crisis, but neither the teacher's post nor the number increased. After taking two shift classes with one teacher, the teachers got tired of the afternoon shift. Due to the teacher crisis, they have to take extra classes load out of the Board's policy. Therefore, changing the organgram will create the number of teachers required for quality education very quickly and recruit accordingly. Assigning a separate teacher for the 2nd shift and setting the class load in light of the policy will yield good results. (3) Most of the equipment in the labs is inert. As a result, practical-based technical education has become class dependent, just like general education. The tender process has to be made more accountable for the purchase of quality modern equipments, including refurbishing old machinery. (4) We need to re-evaluate how much the technical education sector is benefiting from training in Singapore, India, China. Most urgent teachers need to emphasize their own subject-based training. Then the students will benefit more. (5) Due to the increase in the number of seats, steps should be taken to expand the development of polytechnics in order to eliminate the class room crisis, to build new academic buildings, administrative buildings, quarters, hostel, playground and other facilities. (6) Technical education will not be developed merely by increasing student enrollment. The standard of the student-teacher ratio should be ensured in the class according to the ratio 20:1. (7) Technical education should be monitored throughout the effective teaching process. Technology should be introduced in the context of market demand in technical education. The curriculum of the Technical Education Board should be reformed and adjusted. Modernization of exam methods, evaluation of results has become modernised urgently. (8) Skills Competition can be organised once every semester, it means twice a year and thus technical creativity among students will be increased. (9) The institutions relationship with the mill factory should be brought to reality without putting it only pen to paper. Students who are skilled in technical education will have to create new employment through the inclusion of foreign labour market through the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Foreign Employment (10) Many people in the country are not familiar with technical education. Many also have negative ideas about technical education. That's why a huge campaign will have to be launched to make it more popular. (11) Create a safe environment for girl students in polytechnics. Increase the amount of student stipend to ensure safe accommodation; So that it can be cover the cost of accommodation as well as eating. Girl Student admission quota should be gradually increased from 20 percent to 30 percent.
If we can solve these problems, Bangladesh will be an unemployment free country with blessings of technical education and economic prosperity of the country can also be achieved by exporting this skilled manpower abroad. The technology market of the country will expand further. Implementation of the vision of digital Bangladesh is possible ahead of schedule time.
The hope is that the Parliamentary Body of the government has recently recommended making technical courses mandatory for all students of sixth to tenth grade at all general stream secondary schools with a target of developing skilled and efficient human resources for the country. It is also planning to introduce a compulsory technical course for students of six grade at all 30,000 schools and madrasas from 2021. Such courses will be offer to students up to eight grade gradually in following years.
(Gazi Md. Abdur Rashid, Research Officer, District Education Office, Secondary and Higher Education, Munshiganj)