Share and Enjoy
Wasim Bin Habib
The role of textbooks in learning is immeasurable. Textbooks largely shape the knowledge the students acquire. Besides teacher’s lectures, textbooks play the pivotal role in the teaching-learning process because it provides the basis of what the students aspire to learn.
Sadly, improving the quality of textbooks, especially at the primary level, did not get that much priority what it should have been in Bangladesh.
Till the end of year 2012, students read textbooks whose curriculum was formulated by National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) 17 years ago. By this time, a lot of changes have been made worldwide especially in the field of technology, but the textbooks of the country did not have the reflection of it.
However, now children across the country are supposed to get a new set of textbooks with modified curriculum as the government brought major modification to the national curriculum after long 17 years, trying to improve textbook contents as well.
The changes, in line with the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2010, were brought to 111 textbooks from primary to secondary level, keeping pace with the demand of time at home and abroad.
According to the officials concerned, curriculum and textbooks are were designed reviewing the curriculums of different countries, revisiting the earlier set competencies a child used to achieve.
“We formulated curriculum in a way that would help develop children’s thinking capacity and problem-solving skills,” said Shyamal Kanti Gosh, Director General of Directorate of Primary Education (DPE).
He said that chapters like climate change, information technology, and concept of globalisation have been included in easier language so that the children have primary notion about the recent phenomenon.
Besides, he said, culture and lifestyle of different countries have also been included so that the children can get an idea about diversity of culture in the world.
Apart from primary textbooks, the government also modified curriculum in secondary textbooks.
Subjects like Population and Development Studies, Human Resource Development, Human Rights and Gender Studies, Tourism and Hospitality have been included as optional in class XI and XII to keep with the demand of the world, they said.
They also said that some new chapters like climate change, reproductive health, autism, and right to information have been included in some subjects at secondary level.
Six subjects–Bangla, English, Mathematics, Bangladesh O Bishwa Parichoy, Information and Communication Technology, Life-oriented education– have been made mandatory for students of class VI to class X of all mediums including madrasa, according to the NCTB and education ministry sources.
Educationists hailed the government’s initiative, and said curriculum revision is a continuous process which needs to happen at a reasonable interval.
They, however, stressed the need for making the class lessons more interactive to educate students effectively. For this, they said providing vigorous training to the teachers along with a manual is a must.
“The quality of textbooks improved significantly in terms of printing, colour and illustration and even content wise. But that’s not enough. Teachers should also be trained up so that they can make the class lectures participatory and interactive,” said Rasheda K Choudhury, an expert in primary education.
She, also as the executive director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), told The Daily Star that since it takes time to train up all teachers, teachers manual should be provided on urgent basis so that they can teach the students well.
Echoing similar view, Dr Manzoor Ahmed, senior adviser of the Institute of Education Development, Brac University, said apart from giving teacher’s guide, they should also be given proper orientation.
He also stressed the need for reorganising the class hours as it is quite impossible to make the classes interactive in a fixed 40 to 45 minutes class hours. Besides, he said, the students should also be provided with supplementary reading materials and encouraged to read those.
Asked, DG Shyamal Kanti Gosh said the teachers will try their best to make the class lectures participatory and interactive as much as possible.