Only two out of nine general education boards have sent names of nine English medium schools operating with registration in the country to the education ministry in the past nine months since such information was sought in July 2020.
Education ministry officials said that Chittagong Education Board sent names of seven registered and one unregistered schools while Sylhet education board sent names of two registered and seven unregistered schools operating in their jurisdictions following the foreign curriculums.
‘We got a very poor response from the education boards and the directorate of secondary education though they were asked in July and was given a reminder in September to send lists of both registered and unregistered schools that follow foreign curriculums,’ education ministry additional secretary Mominur Rashid Amin said.
‘We will remind them again to send the lists at the earliest possible time to bring those schools under regulations,’ he added.
The move for bringing English medium schools under regulations was taken in July 2020 after parents complained to the ministry, education boards and the directorate of secondary and higher education that many English medium schools denied access of their children to the online classes for their failure of not paying tuition fees amid the COVID-19 outbreak, ministry officials said.
A similar move was taken in 2017 after a High Court Division bench on May 25, 2017 made the education ministry responsible for bringing all English medium schools under rules of Registration of Private Schools Ordinance 1962 and the Private School Registration Rules 2017, they added.
In 2017, they said, the education ministry and the directorate held several meetings with English medium school owners and requested them to obtain registration and approval for their managing committees comprising representatives from guardians, teachers and authorities and to publish audit reports on websites in accordance with the 1962 ordinance and the 2017 registration rules.
But the process was halted after only 123 English medium schools in the capital registered under Dhaka education board, they added.
Dhaka Education Board school inspector Abul Mansur Bhuiyan said that the list made in 2017 was uploaded on the website of the board and most of the registered schools did not renew the registration or did not take the approval of their governing bodies.
He said that the board did not have any idea about unregistered schools operating in the capital following the curriculum of Cambridge International, Edexcel or International Baccalaureate boards as many of them operate obtaining trade licenses from Dhaka’s two city corporations as education consultants.
Chittagong Education board chairman Pradip Chakrobarty and Sylhet education board chairman Rama Bijoy Sarker also said that a number of English medium schools under their jurisdiction area would be more than the lists they had sent to the ministry.
‘Five out of the six unregistered schools in Sylhet were operating after taking trade license from Sylhet City Corporations,’ Bijoy Sarker said.
They said that the directorate should make lists of unregistered schools.
Many parents, on the other hand, said that the government would never be able to bring the English medium schools under regulations as those were owned by big businesses.
Parents association leaders and English medium school association leaders said that an estimated 500 English-medium schools were offering courses to primary to A level students while about 4,000 kindergartens were offering courses up to grade VIII.
They said that the schools charged between Tk 10,000 and Tk 1,00,000 as tuition fees and at best spent 40 per cent of the income on salaries and other purposes.
The director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, Md Syed Holam Faruk, could not be reached for comments on the issue despite several attempts.
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