The authorities responsible for our education keep switching decisions again and again. But they don't seem to have a headache about whether that decision plays any role in improving the quality of teachers, education and students.
They seem to assume changing decisions as a great achievement of education or their own achievement. This applies to the curriculum for the students as well as the training of teachers.
According to Prothom Alo, it is mandatory for government primary school teachers to undergo training. Earlier the training period was one year. The education policy announced during the Awami League government expanded the duration of this course from one year to 18 months.
At the recommendation of education policy and curriculum experts, a one-and-a-half-year course was introduced on an experimental basis in PTIs located in seven divisional towns in 2012. Given the importance of this course, it was named 'Diploma in Primary Education'. This course has been conducted in all the PTIs of the country since 2019. The National Academy for Primary Education (NAPE) in Mymensingh is responsible for this PTI training programme.
But on 22 November, it was decided to change the training period to 10 months at the meeting of the Steering Committee of the Revised Primary Teacher Training Course held at the ministry of primary education. Out of this, six months of training will be conducted in the PTI and the remaining four months of training will be mainly in schools. The committee argues, if teachers stay in training centres for long, there are shortage of teachers in the schools and the classes are disrupted.
According to the decision of the steering committee, they will remain in the classroom for four months out of the new training period of 10 months. Therefore it will not be difficult to carry on teaching with trainee teachers.
A report published in Prothom Alo about the teacher crisis in primary schools shows that parents are volunteering to teach because there was no teachers in a school. At the steering committee meeting, two of the members suggested changing the training period to one year. However, this was overruled by the majority.
In the past we have seen that the education policy of one government is reversed by the next. But in the current context, the same government is reversing the recommendations of its widely discussed and praised education policy one by one or refraining from implementation.
If the training of one and a half years has been considered important for so long, then there is no reason to reduce it now. Teacher training is important to strengthen the foundation of education at the primary level. Therefore, the decision to reduce the duration of primary teacher training should be reconsidered.
If the government does not consider teachers' training unnecessary, they should provide the training before they are recruited or posted. Then there will be no need to increase or decrease the duration of the training.