Rural-urban disparity persistsMohiuddin Alamgir
Results of the Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations show that rural-urban disparity still persists in education system.
As in previous years, students of educational institutions in urban areas did well than the students from institutions located in rural also this time although the government claims that it has taken measures to address the disparity.
The results show that only one of the 20 best institutions under the Dhaka education board is from a rural area, three of 20 such institutions under the Rajshahi board are from rural areas while there are five institutions from rural areas on the list of the best 20 institutions of the Comilla board.
Under the Jessore board, four out of the 20 institutions are from rural areas; two out of 20 best institutions under the Chittagong board, two of 20 best institutions under the Sylhet board, seven out of 20 best institutions under the Dinajpur board and 10 out 20 best institutions under the Barisal board are from rural areas.
Educationists said that these academic institutions were mostly situated in upazila headquarters. Results are even worst in the case of institutions in remote, backward areas.
Most of the top 10 colleges under the Dhaka board are situated in the capital, with Rajuk Uttara Model College retaining the top position.
Rajuk Uttara Model College was followed by Abdul Kadir Mollah City College in Narsingdi, Mymensingh Girls’ Cadet College, Viqarunnisa Noon College, Notre Dame College, Residential Model College, Mirzapur Cadet College, Dhaka City College, National Ideal College and SOS Hermann Gmeiner College.
Pabna Cadet College topped the list of the Rajshahi board followed by Jaipurhat Cadet College. Feni Cadet College topped the Comilla board standing followed by Comilla Cadet College.
Jhenaidah Cadet College topped the list of the Jessore board, Faujdarhat Cadet College of the Chittagong board, Barisal Cadet College of the Barisal board, Sylhet Cadet College of the Sylhet board and Rangpur Cadet College of the Dinajpur board.
Educationists said that the cadet colleges were highly privileged educational institutions in Bangladesh.
Professor Siddiqur Rahman, member on the committee on the Education Policy 2010, told New Age that there had been little progress in addressing the rural-urban disparity in the education system.
He said that the balance in the education system had been destroyed. Rural colleges lack infrastructure and efficient and trained teachers, resulting in poor education quality in such areas.
Siddiqur said that most of the higher and higher middle class families in rural areas were sending their children to institutions in urban areas, which is another reason of the poor result of rural institutions.
Former University Grants Commission chairman Nazrul Islam told New Age that rural educational institutions had dearth of skilled teachers, educational infrastructure, laboratories and libraries and other facilities.
‘Normally educational institutions in rural areas suffer when the question of performance comes. There are also lack of funds and proper management in rural areas,’ he said.
Nazrul said, ‘Cadet colleges do brilliant results as their expenditures are up to 10 times than the expenditure of a normal college.’
Institute of Education Research teacher Mohammad Jalaluddin said that students from urban areas could get the benefits of coaching, private tuition, better guidance and management. Guardians in urban areas spend more money on the education of the students than guardians in rural areas do.
Nazrul and Jalaluddin said that financial support for rural students was less than what is required.
The education minister, Nurul Islam Nahid, said that the gap between urban and rural educational institutions was narrowing. ‘This year’s results have showed that the overall education quality has improved.’
He said that the students of rural areas generally studied humanities and such students had done better this year. ‘So this shows that rural students are also catching up.’
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