ICT education: When will there be qualified teachers and error-free books?


There is a saying on putting the cart before the horse, but for Bangladesh's ICT (information and communication technology) studies in the Higher Secondary School (HSC) level, there is neither the cart nor the horse. A recent investigative report by Prothom Alo shows, in some cases, there are students but no teachers while, in other cases, there are the teachers but no infrastructure.

Apparently, the preparation and thoughts required for launching any educational programme were missing for ICT studies. According to experts, the government initially considered introducing the curriculum in the 11th grade for those who studied in the sixth grade during 2013, but, in 2014, the course was made compulsory for grades 11 and 12 all on a sudden. It was done due to the ensuing 10th parliamentary elections. This was not a prudent decision by the government as seven years have already passed, but no competent teachers could yet be appointed.

As a result, teachers who teach Bangla, Islamic history or philosophy with no educational background in ICT studies are teaching this now.

Higher secondary studies are provided at 634 government and 6,574 private educational institutions across the country, with around 2.6 million students studying at this level.

Such an inattention and negligence by the government to this huge number of students is unacceptable. Although the government is talks big on 'Digital Bangladesh', practically, it has so far failed to take sustainable and effective measures to spread IT education.

The shortage of qualified teachers is not the only problem that the IT education sector currently suffers. The problems is deep rooted and extensive. Some 20 exercise books used for ICT practical tests signed by teachers were collected from various renowned government and private colleges. They were approved by the teachers despite having errors. In some cases, the correct computer programmes were disapproved by the teachers. This shows how miserable the condition is. If the teachers lack the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, what will the students learn from them?

The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) has formed a panel with seven college teachers among whom six did not have studied ICT in neither graduate nor postgraduate. This panel is responsible to evaluate the ICT books authored by experts on CSE or related subjects. Computer programming is the main driving force in every sector of ICT, but the software programmes followed in the ICT textbooks are allegedly decade-old.

The IT education cannot be run by borrowed teachers and evaluators. Fresh thoughts and overall assessment are required for IT education in the intermediate level. The task should be carried out taking the previous experiences in consideration and in consultation with experts. A separate salary structure for IT teachers can be considered to attract experienced teachers. The curriculum must be error-free, modern and updated, too.

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