The teacher to student ratio at secondary schools kept rising in the past five years badly affecting proper classroom teaching at the institutions, especially those in hard to reach areas.
The ratio of teachers to students was 1:42 in 2016, according to the draft Bangladesh Education Statistics 2016 prepared by the Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics.
Bureau officials said that the ratio was 1:30 in 2011, 1:36 in 2012, 1:37 in 2013, 1:39 in 2014 and 1:41 in 2015.
The ration was on the rise although the Education Policy 2010 aimed at reducing the ration at 1:30 by 2018.
District level education officials from coastal, haor and char areas, said the teacher to student ratio in their areas were well above the national level and in some cases it reached 1:77 due to scarcity of schools in the areas caused by remoteness and communication barrier.
They said that the teacher to student ratio was an important barometer of classroom teaching quality.
In crowded classrooms, the quality of education suffers. For students, it becomes difficult to follow the course and teachers cannot give time on the needs of individual students, they said.
Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education director general SM Wahiduzzman said that the teacher to student ratio was on the rise as the dropout rate was declining at the secondary level.
He said that the number of students in schools was increasing every year and school authorities were struggling to provide them with the required number of teachers.
Bureau officials and district-level education officials said that the teacher to student ratio was higher in hard to reach and disaster-prone areas and students of these areas were suffering the most.
Bureau officials estimated that about 30 per cent of the schools were in the areas exposed to disasters like cyclone, flood, water logging and others.
They said that in haor areas, the teacher to student ratio was 1:77 in Habiganj, 1:72 in Brahamanbaria, 1:70 in Sunamganj, 1:66 in Kishoreganj.
According to them, the ratio was 1:64 in Noakhali, 1:63 in Lakshmipur,
1:68 in the flood-prone Shriatpur and 1:62 in Chandpur.
The ratio was, however, bellow the national level in Dhaka 1:28, Khulna 1:32, Rajshahi 1:29 and Rangpur 1:34.
Habiganj district education officer Anil Krishana Mazumder said that the district had less number of schools than needed. ‘There is huge pressure of students in the existing secondary schools,’ he said.
About 100-130 students have to take lesson in a crowded classroom due to lack of teachers in the district, he added.
‘On many occasions, students have to stay outside the classrooms as they do not get place inside,’ he said.
Teachers could barely concentrate on the only first two or three classes as they need to provide lesson in crowded classrooms, said Sunamganj district education officer Nizam Uddin.
He also said that many teachers had to impart education in classroom with 150-180 students.
Shariatpur district education officer Nalini Ranjan Roy also described similar experience. ‘Quality of education is hampered when there is shortage of teachers,’ he added.
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