According to Plato in his remarkable work "The Republic", the finest treatise that is ever written in education, the prime objective of education is to develop the individual completely and make someone competent to play the assigned role in the state.
Plato emphasised the necessity of a Philosophical God to build an ideal state. According to this great philosopher 'Philosophical Gods' are Supreme humans in society who need a fertile atmosphere and proper education.
In Bangladesh, after independence, the seeds of primary education were shaped by the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Investment in education is the best among all the investments as he firmly believed. It's the reason why a people-oriented and universal education system was placed fundamental policy section, more precisely article 17 of the constitution of the People’s Republic. Free and compulsory education till a definite and fixed grade is also added in this article.
Education should be relevant to the demands of society and teachers ought to be well trained as he desired which was the enlightened thought of his broad outlook to ensure the standard of education and enable the education system to stand on a firm basement in a newly emerged state in the world map.
According to the Education Policy 2010, the aims of education are the physical, mental, social, moral, humanitarian, aesthetic, spiritual emotional development of individuals and also the inspiration to patriotism, scientific temperament, innovation and the aspiration towards a sophisticated life.
To implement the Education Policy 2010 and ensure a suitable environment for quality education present government has already taken numerous initiatives. An epoch-making change has been brought about to enhance the infrastructural facility in primary education as I realised while visiting the primary schools for a period longer than fourteen months at the grassroots level. Non-government Institutions have been facilitated with MPO (Monthly payment order). Children are being gifted with new books through a nationwide ceremony named 'Boi Utsob'. Effective steps have been taken to ensure the proper teacher-student ratio removing the 'teachers recruitment complexity'.
Teachers are being trained to be accustomed and inept with the new curriculum in accordance with the education policy. Besides summer and winter sports competitions, Bangabandhu and Bangamata Goldcup tournaments, different sports tournaments and cultural events are being celebrated on different national and State days to make the learning activities more fruitful and interesting.
With all our enterprises and hard labour have we touched the Goal? 'We have to pass a long distance yet' might be the definite answer.
To achieve the Goal-4 of SDG entitled 'Quality and Standard Education' which is supposed to be achieved within 2030 and to produce competent citizens for 'Smart Bangladesh' with a view to implementing the Framework-2041 the following recommendations might be considered:
Firstly, learning activities and textbooks might be acquainted with new dimensions of ideas aiming at making our kids self-reliant, righteous, cooperative, empathetic, dutiful, industrious, scientific temperament and innovative. Experiences from the best curriculum in the world and learning activities of the Netherlands which is known as the country of happiest children in the world and also from the experiences of Japan, the country of most disciplined children and other developed countries might be helpful in this regard.
Secondly, guardians' engagement in learning activities should be made compulsory as Plato prescribed in 'The Republic'. Guardians along with the school managing body should be provided with proper training as well.
Thirdly, a central government initiative and monitoring system are imperative to the successful implementation of programmes like 'Mid-Day Meal'. Regular Check-ups for both the physical and mental health of the students should be introduced to ensure the usual psychomotor development of the children.
Fourthly, appropriate and secure steps should be taken to make the learning content more interesting and inquisitive through proper and secure use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) i.e. digital content. The best content creator might be rewarded for facilitating it.
Fifthly, besides introducing them to their own culture, norms, tradition and the spirit of the Liberation War, our kids should be helped to develop their ideology, aesthetic knowledge and tender sensibility.
Lastly, every child is a distinguished individual. A healthy, elegant and enriched future can be ensured by providing them with proper education.
The writer is the UNO of Charghat in Rajshahi. He can be reached at [email protected]