Burden for post-graduates


The National Education Policy 2010 states that “4-year Honours degree will be considered as the terminal degree and acceptable/required qualification for jobs in all sectors excepting teaching positions at higher education institutions.” And it says that “Masters, M.Phil or Ph.D will be considered as specialised education. Only those interested in research and teaching positions at tertiary level will seek admission for post-graduate degrees.”
Contrary to this national policy, non-government bodies, both corporate and social service providers engaged in neither higher education nor research activities, do not accept 4-year Honours degree as required qualification for jobs. One may look at the job advertisement of any company or NGOs and will find that these bodies demand at least masters degree for any position. So the situation forces anyone interested in or capable of doing the work of a clerk or a peon to seek admission for post-graduate degrees. Most of the employment sectors in the country are in the hands of a coterie of the privileged classes. The government has just washed its hand of all responsibility by saying very fine things in the policy document, but has made no law to support their implementation.
It is true that the government should not curtail anyone’s right to seek ‘specialised education.’ But education in public universities is almost free though higher education is expensive. Students who can reach the level of higher education are comparatively better off than children who cannot avail basic education. And there are many of these children in the country.
Therefore, those who are not interested in teaching at higher education institutions or in research but want to seek post-graduate degrees can satisfy their desire by enrolling in private universities. The state must not do anything that discriminates against any of its children. The government can spend the money thus saved for establishing a ‘universal system of education and extending free and compulsory education to all children’ as per the constitutional pledge.
The love for post-graduate degrees has been gradually ingrained within us since the British period. They destroyed the traditional basic education system and set up colleges for children of the privileged class created by their policy of Permanent Settlement in other lands. They were in need of good, smart clerks to help them run India. One needs good education to be a good clerk. The higher the education, the more skilled the clerk is. Therefore, they shifted their focus from elementary education for the mass people to higher education for children of the privileged classes.
That anti-people British education policy is still effective in independent Bangladesh. This country has seen many education policies, some of which tried to break out of the anti-people colonial yoke, but each one of the policies has been thrown into the rubbish bin in course of time. The latest one is in sickbed for lack of budgetary allocation and supporting laws and acts for its implementation.
To know how far the colonial mentality has been ingrained within us, one may look at the website of the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) of Bangladesh. It has ‘About DPE’ that has ‘DPE History’ under it. When one clicks this ‘DPE History,’ what follows, contrary to one’s expectation, is ‘History of the Primary Education of Bangladesh,’ which starts thus: “In the ancient times and the middle ages the indigenous education system which evolved in the Indian subcontinent was predominantly theological and philosophical in approach.”
DPE’s history of primary education in Bangladesh says next to nothing about the indigenous education system in the ancient times and the middle-ages, and starts directly with the British period. It condemns the traditional basic education system in undivided Bengal as a system that “alienated itself from the common people.” Then its praise for the British knows no bounds as the people “who introduced and implemented what is now known as the modern education system.”
In this mentality towards the British colonialists and utter disregard for the indigenous root of primary education, the DPE authority forgot to mention that British surveyor William Adam in his report estimated that about 1 lakh primary schools existed in Bengal and Bihar during 1830s. It means that almost every village had its own school for its children. They taught reading, writing and arithmetic skills (3R’s) in these pathsalas. This was to enable a child, irrespective of its parent’s religion, occupation and caste, to perform basic social activities. The British colonialists needed land-workers and clerks then. They left the subcontinent long ago, but their ghost stays. Our middleclass love for post-graduate degrees shows our irresistible pull for that long-gone past. Universal mass education will not be possible until our education authorities change their mindset.

The author writes on theatre, education and socio-political issues.

Source: The Daily Star


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