An indictment of ruling quarters’ persistent bias against poor
That students in rural areas continue to under-perform in the Secondary School Certificate examinations, as New Age reported on Tuesday with reference to this year’s SSC results published on Monday, compared to their counterparts in urban areas may well be a pointer to the yawning urban-rural disparity and, more importantly, the ruling quarters’ persistent bias against the poor and marginalised sections of society. According to the report, most of the highest grade scorers this year, like previous years, belong to urban institutions.
In the first place, the prevailing education system, inherited from the long colonial rule, is anything but universal or uniform. In addition, it is still beset by various forms of discriminations, including economic and regional ones, needless to say, in violation of the constitution that mandates the state to put an end to all sorts of discriminations among the people. What is worse, thanks to rampant commercialisation pursued by successive governments over the past decades, the situation has been compounded further leaving mostly the rural educational institutions in the lurch. No one can deny that schools, and other educational institutions as well, located in rural areas — which are home to predominantly poor people — generally lack adequate infrastructure including classrooms, laboratories, libraries, etc. Shortage of teachers, especially competent ones, is common. Under such circumstances, it is indeed a wishful thinking to have those institutions perform properly.
More often than not, the key functionaries of the incumbent Awami League-Jatiya Party government, including the prime minister, talk of their steps taken in the past three years or so in a bid to bring a change in the education sector including building infrastructure, reintroducing the monthly pay order facility for non-government teachers working largely in rural schools and colleges and distributing textbooks free to all school students across the board. But what is true is that all this hardly proves sufficient to make a difference.
In fact, what the government needs to do to make the education system truly inclusive, especially in terms of ensuring the poor and vulnerable groups access to education, is overhaul its policies about development, on the whole. It needs to realise that by depriving rural students at large of quality education it is weakening their capacity to prosper in life which may eventually lead the country, already ridden by a plethora of crises, to deep trouble.
comments powered by Disqus