Why would the students be victims of political conflicts?

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

The risk posed to education due to the political deadlock in the country is unacceptable to anyone. The decline in the number of students present in the classes due to political programmes is quite concerning.

Already a major portion of the students are suffering as a result of the unprecedented closure of educational institutions for two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. If their education gets another hit due to strikes or blockades or political instability, then it would be the last nail on the coffin for them.

According to a Prothom Alo report, the academic session at the primary and secondary level is nearing its end. The national election is scheduled to be held in January. For this reason, the education directorate has decided to hold the annual exam in November this year. Some schools have already started taking annual exams. However, most of the schools are in the final phase of the academic session.

Strikes, blockades and political instability have posed a threat to the education of nearly 30 million students at the primary and secondary level due to incidents of setting buses on fire. There are concerns among the guardians regarding the safety of their children. Prothom Alo collected information from 28 schools regarding how the education activities are being continued amid continuous blockade.

It shows that the number of students attending classes has declined in several schools in Dhaka and adjacent areas. Even there are cases, where schools have called off classes due to lack of students. However, the situation is quite normal in many schools outside Dhaka and in several parts of Dhaka.

The learning loss incurred by a generation of students during the Covid pandemic has a long lasting and multifaceted impact.

It has been further clarified in the study conducted by Campaign for Popular Education, a non-government organisation, on the learning loss of the students during the coronavirus pandemic.

The research report said our gradual decline in education system got a big blow during the pandemic. It has been slowed down due to the long-time-closure of the educational institutions during the pandemic. Incidents of early marriage and the number of dropouts have increased.

The research conducted by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) on the learning loss of the students also came up with the same information. NCTB said there was already a learning loss of the students at primary level, which intensified due to the two-year-closure of educational institutions during the pandemic. The loss is the highest in subjects like mathematics and English.

The education system of the country is now on the way to recover the losst. In this context, the uncertainty surrounding our education caused by the ongoing political unrest will definitely harm the future generation the most.

The people affiliated with politics must have this apprehension in the first place. If the deadlock prevails for long, then it will not only have an impact on the annual exams at the primary and secondary levels, it may hamper the preparations of the students going to sit for the SSC examinations next year as well.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) enforced a strike for a day and blockades for five days following the violence that erupted over their grand rally on 28 October. There are talks in the political arena about the possibility of similar programmes in the coming days.

We believe that the only way to break this political deadlock is holding dialogues. Why would the students be the victims of political conflict? The ruling party, opposition and all the other parties should act responsibly to avoid any new uncertainty in the education of the students.