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The government has finalised the Education Act draft, banning all kinds of note-guide books and legalising coaching centres across the country.

According to the finalised draft, coaching centres can run after evening but teachers cannot teach the students of their own institutions there.

The draft act slaps a ban on printing, publishing, packaging, and marketing note-guide books. Publishing these books will be regarded as a punishable crime and the violators will face a fine of maximum Tk 500,000 or a three-year jail term or both.

If any educational institution or a teacher encourages students to buy or force to read note-guide books, they will have to face disciplinary action, reads the draft.

Deputy minister for education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury told Prothom Alo that the draft, which is almost ready, will soon be sent for cabinet approval.

The draft, however, could have some changes, he added.

Education ministry officials said that a committee was formed back in January 2011 to finalise the draft of the Education Act after the education policy was announced in 2010.

No teacher, according to the draft act, can offer private tuition to the students of his/her institutions.

If a teacher teaches the students of his/her students using electronic or online platforms, it will be a punishable offence.

Teachers, however, can provide tuition or take additional classes per day upon receiving prior permission from their respective heads of the institutions.

The draft act says that conducting coaching centres or teaching in coaching centres to provide students private tutoring will not be considered as illegal.

But, the coaching centres cannot run during daytime when educational institutions function. If any coaching centre carries out its activities before evening, its trade licence will be cancelled. No teacher can teach the students of his/her own institutions at coaching centres, it adds.

Association of Shadow Education Bangladesh joint convener Mahmudul Hasan told Prothom Alo, "We welcome the proposed draft of Education Act."

"If tutoring at coaching centres has significance and demand, parents and guardians will send their children to coaching centres, even if they run after evening," he added.

Mahmudul Hasan also said coaching centres will remain important until and unless the proposed teaching service is ensured at classrooms.

A number of guardians, however, expressed their concern over running coaching centres after evening.

Guardians Unity Forum president Ziaul Kabir told Prothom Alo if coaching centres run after evening, students, especially female students, will face various problems including security issues.

A section of teachers think guardians send their children to coaching centres and buy them note-guide and practice books as educational institutions do not provide their students quality education.

Professor Mohammad Tariq Ahsan of Dhaka University's Institute of Education and Research (IER) told Prothom Alo that the current assessment procedure here in Bangladesh brings coaching centres and note-guide books as sideliners.

The education business could be ended by overhauling the entire education system and assessment system of examinations, he added.

The draft also says the students will not be subjected to any form of mental and physical punishment at the educational institutions.

Regarding the draft, educationist professor Syed Manzoorul Islam told Prothom Alo that students should get proper education in their own institutions.

He welcomed the initiative of banning note-guide books and said that school education should not depend on coaching centres.

* The article originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Imam Hossain.

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