New curriculum: Why delay in finalising assessment structure

It is very unfortunate that the evaluation structure of the public exams has not been finalised as per the new curriculum though six months of the academic year are coming to an end. Based on this framework of evaluation, the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) planned to conduct from next month a few activities, including the half-yearly summative evaluation of 6th to 9th graders and experimentally taking the annual assessment of 9th graders centre-wise.

The new curriculum was launched on a trial basis last year. Currently, the new curriculum has been introduced in classes I to III and VI to IX. Current 9th graders will take their SSC exams as per the new curriculum, which will be introduced gradually up to 12th grade by 2027.

Students are the worst victims while teachers are in an uncertainty as the evaluation framework has not been finalised. There is an app called “Naipunya” to store the assessment data but it must be updated for public exams. That work has also stopped.

According to a Prothom Alo investigation, the Ministry of Education is delaying the decision to finalise the evaluation framework for the new curriculum. NCTB had, though, drafted it last February in the light of experiences at home and abroad.

Recently, the committee formed by the Ministry of Education to coordinate the implementation of the new curriculum and the finalisation of the evaluation system, made a final recommendation, asking that the weightage of the SSC examination should be programme-based. It proposed 50 per cent of the weightage for the practical and the remaining 50 per cent for the written part.

But another meeting of the ministry amended that proposal saying that the weightage for the written part of the overall assessment of the SSC examination to be 65 per cent, and the remaining 35 per cent to be activity-based.

Sources involved with the formulation of the new curriculum say that several steps have been fixed to implement the evaluation framework.

In the first phase, it was planned to conduct a half-yearly summative assessment in all educational institutions from 6th to 9th grades this year just like the public examination evaluation. As per the plan, the half-yearly assessment of 10th grade next year will be centre-based, like the public examination.

Before that, there was supposed to be a subject-wise “resource pool” to implement this evaluation framework, but it has not been implemented. In this situation, this semi-annual evaluation is set to begin from 3 July.

Professor SM Hafizur Rahman of Dhaka University’s Institute of Education and Research emphasised on finalising the evaluation framework fast. NCTB chairman (routine duty) professor Moshiuzzaman thinks that everything has been fixed to a certain extent. Once approved in the National Curriculum Coordination Committee (NCCC) meeting, it will be communicated to all concerned.

If everything is going well, why so much delay in finalising the exam evaluation structure? The policy makers of the education sector show big dreams to the people, and raise their voice to establish a smart Bangladesh through smart education. But that smartness is not seen in their work.

As the education and future of millions of students are involved in it, this long and winding approach of the education ministry cannot be accepted in any way.

Let the evaluation structure for exams be finalised immediately.