Governments around the world have closed all educational institutions indefinitely to control the Covid-19 epidemic. The implementation of this decision has affected the educational activities of about 80 percent of students worldwide. Like other countries in the world, the government of Bangladesh has closed all educational institutions in the country since March 18, 2020 as a strategy to protect students from the attack of this deadly virus. During this long hiatus, the entire education system of the world, including Bangladesh, is facing difficulties. Many questions have been raised about online learning and its effectiveness. Schools, colleges and universities are currently operating all over the world in various temporary ways using virtual platforms. After being closed for almost two months, the government has decided to reopen all offices-courts, factories and public transport from May 31, 2020 on the condition of complying with health rules and ensuring social distance. As a result, the most talked about issue at various levels is when will the situation improve, such as the opening of educational institutions? In such a situation, "National Education Day" is being celebrated all over the country on 16th September.
Wajiullah, Ghulam Mustafa, Ratul and many others were martyred on September 17, 1962 while fighting against the Pakistani rule, exploitation and policy of restricting education by demanding fair education. The dictator Ayub Khan formed an education commission called the Sharif Commission on 30 December 1958 under the leadership of SM Sharif. The report on education proposed by the Education Commission on 26 August 1959 was in favor of education contraction. The proposed report said that the misconception that education can be obtained cheaply should be abandoned. The report, which is divided into 27 chapters with proposals to increase students' tuition fees in secondary and higher education, makes detailed recommendations on general, vocational education, teacher context, and medium of instruction, textbooks, font problems, administration, funding, education goals and objectives from primary to higher levels.
In this education contraction policy framework, education is divided into three levels- primary, secondary and higher. It is proposed to have 5 years primary, 6 years secondary and 3 years higher degree courses and 2 years postgraduate courses. The pass marks are considered as 50 per cent, 60 per cent for the second class and 70 per cent for the first class as a means of preservation for the affluent class of higher education.
The commission proposed to establish full government control instead of autonomy in universities, ban politics in colleges and universities, keep a close watch on the activities of students and teachers, and provide 15 hours of hard work for teachers. The Ayub government accepted the recommendations of this report and started implementing it from 1962. Various student organizations, including student unions, took a stand against Ayub's education policy.
They formed small scale movements with various student organizations in 1959, 1960 and 1961 with the aim of building a stronghold. After that, a nationwide hartal was observed on 17 September 1962 under the leadership of Chhatra Sangram Parishad. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. According to the government alone, 59 people were arrested, 73 were injured and 3 were martyred. On that day, not only in Dhaka, but all over the country, the police attacked the procession. Since then, this day has been celebrated as Education Day in memory of the martyrs. That movement of 1962 still inspires the students of this country. More recently, we have seen the anti-VAT movement of private university students and the protest participation of students in the road safety movement of school children.
National Education Day is observed every year across the country to ensure fair education for all. Through education, the inner qualities of human beings are revealed, thinking is improved. An educated citizen leads himself and the country towards success by acquiring moral and general education. Corona has also taught us that we continue to disregard the environment due to uncontrolled living and resource use, and COVID-19 has forced us to stop destroying the environment, albeit temporarily. Therefore, general education as well as environmental education should be emphasized.
The Ministry of Education is emphasizing on improvement in the education sector. Earlier, the education system in Bangladesh was not very good. The literacy rate of this country has increased a lot compared to the past. We are now in the rectangle of developing countries. According to the latest report of UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) in 2016, the literacy rate in Bangladesh has increased by 26.10 percent in the last 10 years and reached a record level of 72.8 percent. Significant success has also been achieved in eradicating illiteracy. A few years ago, the enrollment rate at the primary level was 61 percent, but now it is about 100 percent. The admission rate from class VI to class VIII was 51 percent, now it has increased to 62 percent. The admission rate in class XI and XII was 33 percent, now it has increased to 44 percent. The nation that can educate women is bound to prosper.
The present government has achieved commendable success in achieving gender equality in education. Almost 100% of girls are now going to school. The government has ensured that there is a need for a school environment for girls. Eighty percent female teachers are being recruited for primary school teaching. Bangladesh ranks 1st in Southeast Asia in terms of women's participation in primary and secondary education.
According to the Ministry of Education, the government has been implementing various projects since 2009 with the aim of enhancing skills and developing human resources. The government is working relentlessly to solve the problems in the education sector. Not only general education but also information technology education has improved a lot.
Studying environmental science is essential for sustaining our lives in a healthy normal environment. Our environment is getting polluted day by day. Awareness can create a beautiful and pollution free environment. Educated citizens are working to create awareness in protecting the environment of Bangladesh. In this case, educated people are playing a significant role in environmental education. The Department of Environmental Sciences is a department where a student acquires knowledge about all subjects as a whole. They discuss, monitor, test and verify environmental policies, environmental economics, environmental laws and environmental impacts, as well as their problems, and conduct systematic, systematic research. Environmental science establishes the relationship of economics with the environment. Given the current state of the environment in the world, we need to focus on the environmental education to avoid the impact on the economy. There is no substitute for education in the development of individual and national life.
Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, Dean, Faculty of Science, Chairman, Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh, Founder and Director, Center for Atmospheric Pollution Studies (CAPS) & Joint Secretary, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), E-mail: email@example.com)