• The new system is to be effective from January 2022
• Exams will be reduced and classroom evaluations emphasised
• Competency-based education system in lieu of existing outcome-based one
• Honesty, ethics, patriotism, team building, and critical thinking to be emphasised
• Stress on building quality and skilled manpower to meet the future demands
To meet the growing demand for skilled manpower in different sectors of the country, the education ministry is going to overhaul the entire curriculum and evaluation process from primary to higher secondary levels.
The new education system, to be effective from January 2022, aims at moving towards a competency-based education system from the existing outcome-based one.
The ministry, apart from printing new books for pupils, will need to train officials and teachers to make them acquainted with the new system.
Competency-based education is defined as one that focuses on building knowledge, skills, and abilities pupils need to successfully perform specific tasks.
On the other hand, in outcome-based education, students can just describe what they will be able to do after completing the programme.
Education Minister Dipu Moni said the government has brought timely changes to syllabus, evaluation process and teachers' training to build a skilled future generation.
"We want to create a skilled workforce and infuse people with humanity through our education system. To this end, the government has emphasised various soft skills, including honesty, ethics, patriotism, communication skills, team building, and critical thinking," she said.
Professor Narayan Chandra Saha, chairman of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), told The Business Standard that the new education system has been planned as there is a lack of skilled manpower in the country.
"The demand for skilled manpower for our economy is increasing day by day. It has increased mainly since the beginning of the 21st century. It is our failure that we did not catch up with that demand," he said.
The proposed curriculum can contribute to building skilled manpower in the country, he said.
The ministry thinks it has achieved marked progress in student enrolment, especially in primary education, and now it needs to build quality and skilled manpower to meet the future demands as the world is going to enter the era of the fourth industrial revolution.
The new curriculum has emphasised learning evaluation in classroom and Bangla language. It has proposed a two-day weekly holiday – on Friday and Saturday. Students will study for 185 days a year.
The ministry has underlined the need for an interdisciplinary approach to education as it believes the expected target can be achieved through that.
Educationists welcomed the initiative, saying its proper implementation would help to achieve the goal.
Professor Siddiqur Rahman, former director of the Institute of Education and Research under the University of Dhaka, told The Business Standard that the existing curriculum is not bad at all and its expected target could have been achieved if it was implemented properly.
"But unfortunately, only 20% of its target was fulfilled.
"The initiative to overhaul the curriculum is good. But it will be in vain if it is not implemented appropriately," he said.
Finalisation in March 2021
NCTB Member (curriculum) Professor Moshiuzzaman said they have received many recommendations from different quarters after uploading the proposed curriculum on the NCTB website.
"We will finalise it in March next year while printing of new textbooks will begin in July. The ministry will train all teachers for three days so that they can adjust to the new system," he maintained.
The new curriculum focuses on 10 aspects of education. These include language and communication, mathematics and reasoning, science and technology, information and communication technology, environment and climate, society and global citizenship, life and livelihood, values and morality, physical and mental health and protection, and arts and culture.
Primary education subjects include Bangla, English, mathematics, social sciences, science, religious education, wellbeing, and arts and culture. Subjects in secondary education are Bangla, English, mathematics, life and livelihood, social sciences, technology, religious education, wellbeing, and arts and culture.
PEC, JSC test cancellations proposed
The government introduced Primary Education Completion (PEC) tests in 2009. Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) examinations were introduced in 2010.
Educationists and other stakeholders have been asking the government to scrap these tests to build an education system that is not an exam-centric one. But the exams continued.
The proposed curriculum has asked the authorities to get rid of the PEC and JSC exams.
Moreover, Secondary School Certificate examinations have been proposed to be held on four subjects – Bangla, English, mathematics, and science – only while other assessments will be done in school.
On the other hand, Higher Secondary Certificate tests will be held in two phases. Students must sit for exams after completion of class XI and then class XII. Final results will be prepared after combining results from both phases.
Classroom- and exam-based evaluation
The new curriculum puts more emphasis on learning evaluation in classrooms. But students will be evaluated both in classrooms and through examinations.
Students from pre-primary to class III will be evaluated fully in the classroom and will be promoted to the next grade without taking any exams.
Classroom-based evaluation will account for 60% of total evaluation for pupils from class IV to VIII while the remaining 40% marks will come from final exams. For students of class IX and X, 50% of marks will come from classroom-based evaluation, and the rest from final exams.
Students of class XI and XII will have 30% of total marks coming from classroom-based evaluation, and the rest from final tests.
Primary students will study between 630 and 840 hours per year in school while it will be between 1,050 and 1,117 hours for secondary students. Higher secondary students will study for 1,167 hours.
The new curriculum proposes scrapping categorisation of students into science, humanities, and business studies streams at the secondary level. The same curriculum will apply to all students.
But students can choose from science, humanities, and business studies when they are in class XI.
The new curriculum has 10 goals, including the one to help learners "design life and earn livelihood in the changing world."