The government is going to introduce a time-befitting new education curriculum with massive changes from pre-primary to the higher secondary level in the country from the next year.
By introducing activity-based learning, the new curriculum will not only reduce emphasis on memorisation but also prioritise experimentation.
Skill-based new curriculum has been formulated by National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) on the basis of the existing education policy and it will be implemented in phases.
The authorities have already completed almost all the necessary preparations to launch the new curriculum from January 2023 keeping pace with global educational advancement.
After Prime Minister’s approval last year, the curriculum was approved at a meeting of the National Curriculum Coordination Committee of the Education Ministry and the Primary and Mass Education Ministry on 30 May this year.
According to the new curriculum, it will be introduced in Class I and II at the primary level and in Class VI and VII at the secondary level in 2023.
Students of Class III and IV at the primary level and Class VIII and IX at the secondary level will adopt the new curriculum in 2024 while it will be finally introduced to Class V at the primary level and Class X at the secondary level in 2025.
Welcoming the new curriculum, Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) Executive Director Rasheda K Choudhury told The Business Post, “Curricula are changing almost every year in other countries, but we are lagging behind in this era of information technology.”
She said, “The new curriculum has been finalised after taking opinions from stakeholders, and it is currently being piloted. I got good feedback from officials.”
The government formulated the curriculum to reduce dependency on exams and memorisation, said the educationist. “That is why we welcomed it.”
The former caretaker government advisor also said to implement it, well-trained teachers are needed as students can learn in a joyful environment. “We need to explain the system to parents so that they do not raise questions about how to study without exams.”
There will be no reliance on coaching and guidebooks in the new curriculum, she said. “But notebook and guidebook companies may create problems.”
Major changes in curriculum
Under the new curriculum, there will be no exams till the third grade and fourth and fifth graders will have to study eight books.
Students will be evaluated based on continuous assessment until class III at schools. Currently, these students need to sit for half-yearly and final exams every year. For students of classes IV to VIII, 60 percent of evaluation in Bangla, English, Mathematics, Social Science and Science will be done through continuous assessment and the rest through ‘overall evaluation’.
‘Overall evaluation’ means exams and ‘continuous assessment’ means evaluation of regular school work. However, for other subjects students of these classes will be evaluated based on continuous assessment.
Half the evaluation of Bangla, English, Mathematics, Social Science and Science of students of classes IX and X will be done through continuous assessment and the rest will be done through exams.
The SSC exams will be held on Bangla, English, Mathematics, Social Science and Science subjects.
All students from classes VI to X have to read 10 common subjects - Bangla, English, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, ICT, Religion, Health Studies, Life and Livelihood Education and Art and Culture Studies.
SSC examination will be based on the syllabus of class X only. At present, the public exam is conducted on the basis of the syllabuses of classes IX and X.
There will be two public exams in classes XI and XII meaning public examinations will be held at the end of each year. And the final result of the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) will be published by combining the results of these two exams.
The 30 percent evaluation of compulsory subjects - Bangla, English, Mathematics and ICT of classes XI and XII will be done through continuous assessment and the remaining 70 percent will be done through public exams.
Students of classes XI and XII will study the compulsory subjects- Bangla, English and ICT. And they will be able to choose three other subjects from any of three disciplines of Science, Humanities and Business. They will pick another subject from vocational courses.
Since the reign of Ayub Khan, secondary schools have required students to choose among Science, Humanities and Business Studies when they are in class IX. But the streams - Science, Humanities and Business Studies - will be introduced from class XI under the new curriculum.
There are 185 working days in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and its associate countries in a year while the working days are 181 in 23 European countries.
The weekly holiday will be two-day at the educational institutions in Bangladesh while total working days will be 185 days in a year.
Students will get new textbooks as per the new curriculum in phases. In 2023, students of classes I, II, VI and VII will receive textbooks under the new curriculum.
Students of classes III, IV, VIII and IX will get the new books from 2024 and the 5th and 10th graders will receive new textbooks in the next year.
The government will provide the new books to the students of class XI in 2026 and class XII in 2027. So, the students will take part in the SSC exams under the new curriculum from 2026 and the HSC exams from 2028.
Students of class I-III will get their result from their performances in classes. Students of classes IV and V will get 40 percent marks for Bangla, English, Maths and Science subjects on the basis of their performance in classes while another 60 percent will be determined by annual examinations.
All marks in Physical, Mental Health and Religion will be based on class performances only.
For students of classes VI-VIII, 60 percent marks in Bangla, English, Maths, Science and Social Sciences subjects will be based on class performance and another 40 percent will be determined on the basis of their performance in annual exams.
Full marks in subjects i.e. Life and livelihood, Science and Technology, Physical and Mental Health, Religion and Arts and Culture will be given on the basis of class performance.
Students of classes IX and X will get 50 percent of the marks in Bangla, English, Math, Science and Social Sciences on the basis of the class performance and the remaining 50 percent marks will be given on the basis of annual and public exams, respectively.
Their full scores in Life and livelihood, Science and Technology, Physical and Mental Health, Religion and Arts and Culture will be determined on the basis of class performance.
For students of class XI and XII, 30 percent of the marks in all their subjects will be given based on class performance and the remaining 70 percent will be calculated based on their performance in public exams.
Background to new curriculum
The livelihood of people is changing rapidly due to the impact of fourth industrial revolution. The two-third of the traditional professions will be abolished by 2030 while 65 percent of students who are now at primary level do not know what their future jobs will be.
Examining the curriculum of 102 countries, it was found that 51 countries have already revised their education curriculum.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched the Future of Education and Skills 2030 project in 2016 for its 37 members and its associate countries for helping countries prepare their education systems for the future.
OECD accepted and recommended the transferable skills and skill-based curriculum.
Following the concept, in south Asia Sri Lank, Bhutan and India also revised their curriculum while the process is underway in other countries.
The NCTB started the process of revising the current curriculum in 2018 while the education curriculum was last revised in 2012.
NCTB Chairman Prof Md Farhadul Islam told The Business Post that the structure of the existing curriculum was introduced in 1960s giving priority to the rural economy when 80 percent people lived at villages.
“But the scenario has undergone a massive change and that is why we formulated the curriculum considering the current livelihood of the country.”
He said the country could not take benefits from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd industrial revolutions and it is now going to take the benefit of the fourth industrial revolution, otherwise it will lag behind.
Prof Farhad also said training would have to be ensured for all teachers before the start of the new curriculum, he added.
The aim of the new curriculum is creating a joyful learning environment for students reducing burden of subjects and load of textbooks, putting emphasis on deep learning, prioritizing experiential and action-based learning instead of memorization-based education.
Importance was also given to imparting education through sports and creative activities and reducing homework through ending lessons of the day in the classroom.
The new curriculum will emphasize competency rather than theoretical knowledge and that is why the ministry has set 10 main competencies that a student will achieve after grade XII.
The competencies are: student’s ability to communicate, collaborate, express themselves, honour other people’s opinions, think critically, solve problems, learn languages, communication, mathematics and reasoning, science and technology, the ICT, environment and climate and values and morality.
About the new curriculum, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni at a recent programme said the role of teachers will not be limited to classrooms as they’ll also work as facilitators and guides. Learning will be enjoyable as per the new curriculum. There will be no fear of examinations and the curriculum will be based on experience.
She also said: “We do not want students to go through the pressure of education. We want to give students education amid fanfare, replace the memorization-based system with experiment and activity-based education.”