The education ministry has drafted a new law that will ban private tuition and coaching with the provision of hefty fines up to Taka 2 lakh along with six-month jail for the guilty tutors.
While one can understand that the draft Education Act, 2016 has good intentions, the idea may have unexpected implications.
We all know that the country’s education system in general has not become so efficient that all students are being attended by teachers properly. The quality of teachers and teaching remains a challenge not to speak about teacher-student ratio in classrooms.
Since when did private tuition become a crime? When did private tuition become synonymous to stealing, pick-pocketing or mugging that the ministry would think of putting a private tutor behind bars?
Private tuition had been there in our education system for ages because there had been always a shortage of quality teachers. Our grandfathers or fathers as students have earned their extra money to reduce burden on their parents. It used to be a matter of pride back then. After all teaching is an honourable profession.
But then of course, over time a section of money-hungry teachers of schools and colleges began unethically using private tuition for personal gains. They would not pay attention to teaching students in classes and force the students to come to them for private tuition just to pass the exams.
And that gradually has led to mushrooming of commercial coaching centres. There is of course the issue of money. But there is also the issue of learning.
Students would not go to private tutors if there was no need of it. Did the education ministry find the root cause why students go for private tuition? Ask anyone— he would say it is because of the weak teaching and classroom sessions. If the teaching and classrooms were stimulating enough, why would any young girl or boy want to waste their playtime hours learning the same things under a private tutor.
Students of some reputed private English medium schools in our country do not usually go for private tuition as their teachers are better qualified. But it’s mainly the problems with other schools—including the government ones.
If the government wants to end the malpractice of private tuition, it has to take measures to improve teachers’ quality by making the teaching profession more honourable and financially attractive. Banning private tuition just morally does not sound right.
So we believe the focus should have been on improving education quality. By any means.