Friday, April 26, 2019

Will there be any change?

Sharifur Rahman Adil :
A scandalous history has been written about the teacher- student relationship in Bangladesh after burn to death of Nusrat, who died after being set on fire for refusing to drop sexual harassment charges against her Madrasa's Principal. After this incident, there is a continuous storm of protest across the country to seeking justice for Nusrat. Protesters are not just claiming the trial of Siraj and his gang; rather they want assurance from govt. that such incident won't happen in future. I think, these crimes cannot be stopped without taking extra precaution even after making laws or rules in spite of being silent in this situation.
 We can say that, for doing these works; Principal Siraj and his gang have got the scope from two rules- regulations of Ministry of Education.  For example, one is Rules of Managing committee / Governing Body and second is Rules of Board Examination center settings. I think these rules are more responsible for committing such brutal incident by Principal Siraj. These rules have fully supported Siraj and his gang to burn Nusrat easily.
Because, we know that  94% of our country's educational institutions like school, college madrasa are MPO enlisted, and these MPO  enlisted  institutions run by a committee named Managing Committee or Governing Body which is led by  local  powerful political leaders and activists. They use educational institutions as political tools where Principal is Secretary and students are General activists. If these were the main sceneries of our educational institutes,   what will we hope from our teacher like Siraj?
However, from the last few decades, the teachers were expressing their anger over managing committee and its activities and they have wanted to abolish this system. Because, by the managing committee and the Principal together can change any law instantly. They can declare any illegal rule as legal or legal as illegal, invalid as valid.
Sometimes we have noticed in  our daily newspaper headlines that - students of various educational institutions spend 2-3 hours with flower bouquets for receiving MP, Minister, local powerful political leader or chairman, etc etera. And Principal or Head Master spends a lot of money from the institution's fund for their reception / felicitation. Majority principals often arrange dance programs by female students only for political leaders' satisfaction. Sometimes they declare holiday and obligate the students to go and participate in political activities.
The fact is that, these activities have not been done by teachers of any government institutions except the MPO enlisted institutions, because their job is in the hands of these leaders. So, they are always ready to please them and flatter them to enjoy more facilities from the institutions. They think that the more they will flatter them their service will be longer lasting. For these reasons, Governing Body ensures all the safeties for the Principal or Headmaster, and thus they are guaranteed of get away from any immoral acts. Sonagazi's madrasha student Nusrat's burn to death is one of the bright examples.
Recently, MPO enlisted teachers recruitment is being officially but disposal or dismissal power still remains on the hand of Managing or Governing Body. As a result, majority teachers are helpless and hostage to the leaders. They cannot practice their morality and duty perfectly due to fear of losing their jobs. Majority teachers are forced to accept any unreasonable and unacceptable demand from the Governing BSody otherwise, they could lose their job.
From the murder of Nusrat, it can be assumed that country's teachers and students are how much abused by the Managing Committee member and principal? It is an example to know how deep relations they can generate between Principal and Managing Committee of an education institution that was proved by the involvement of Additional Deputy Magistrate, Awami League Upazila Level President, General Secretary, Councilor, Police Station OC etc.  
Anybody can raise a question that is - why did not a teacher protest this immoral incident, although there is a lot of teachers and employees in an institution?  Raising such a question is not unexpected but it is not unusual to keep silent or follow their instructions to protect their jobs.
There was a time when the villagers used to set up educational institutions to spread the education to the people through their own initiative and they had to collect rice, paddy and money from villagers and rich persons to pay salaries to the teachers. But now the government is carrying 100% salary, then why does Managing Committee exist in MPO enlisted institutions?  
It is not the first time that allegation of sexual harassment has been raised against Siraj. Many times he did same thing earlier, and simply get rid of by the Managing Committee. Many such incidents happen in our country, but these often go unchallenged due to the Managing Committee's relation with the Head Masters.
Once upon a time, the teacher was most respected person in our society now it has become the most neglected profession in our country. Just think, if teachers do not dare to protest injustice, moral values, how can they teach our children to stand against injustice, immorality?  Now it's time to nationalise the entire education system and eliminate this strange management. If it takes time for nationalisation, then the Managing Committee Act should be cancelled. And take the initiative to lead and manage the institution same as the government schools and colleges.
The rules of Board Exam Center Setting of Ministry of Education made it easy to burn Nusrat. I think it is a serious error in our education system. Just think that, if the madrasha/school examination center was in any other educational institution or the management of this center was in the hands of teachers of other institutions, would it have got the courage to fire Nusrat? Was it possible to take the gate guard, meeting in the hostel and manage law enforcement agencies?
The system is so defective that - own institution, own exam center, own teacher, and the center committee with the acting officer of that center was formed by teachers of that institution.  As a result,  they got the question paper two hours before the beginning of the test, especially in the 40-minute field, and at this opportunity, Nusrat was offered the  unethical proposal by Principal Siraj in exchange of question paper before the test begin! I think these two rules of Education Ministry fully supportive to Siraj to propose illicit proposal and then burn to death Nusrat.
Therefore, the Ministry of Education must change and abolish the above two rules to rescue the country's Nusrats.  Otherwise, such incidents will continue to happen.

(Sharifur Rahman Adil, Lecturer of Philosophy, Feni South-East Degree College; email- adil.doc.info@gmail.com)