Bangabandhu sought inclusive, universal education system: experts


By Md Morshadur Rahman

DHAKA, Aug 29, 2017 (BSS) – Education appeared to be a prime sector in post-independence reconstruction campaign with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman seeking to ensure a solid primary education of universal nature and academic freedom for qualitative standards in university level.

Revisiting Bangabandhu initiatives for education in the month of mourning, academics and experts said Bangabandhu wholeheartedly realized that war-ravaged Bangladesh crucially needed human resources for its reconstruction and gradual development which could be ensured through a mass-oriented and universal education system, requiring access of all to schools.

“Bangabandhu felt that an independent country needs an education system which will help ensure education for all levels of people . . . so he engaged great scientist and educationist Dr. Muhammad Qudrat-i-Khuda in formulating a comprehensive policy,” Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Professor Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique said.

The Qudrat-i-Khuda Commission, he said, therefore, prepared a report on primary, secondary and higher education aiming to bring a qualitative change in education sector and handed it over to Bangabandhu in 1974.

But the subsequent assassination of Bangabandhu along with most of his family members sealed its fate for decades until the incumbent government developed the Education Policy 2010 on the basis of that report.

Substantiating Prof Siddique, Director General of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Prof Dr SM Wahiduzzaman recalled Bangabandhu nationalized 37000 primary schools to ensure universal access to education.

“It was really an ambitious and courageous initiative as nationalization of such a huge number of primary school was very tough step for a war-torn country,” he said adding that it reflected Bangabandhu’s mindset in giving priority to education.

Wahiduzzaman, however, added that following Bangabandhu’s footsteps Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina nationalized nearly 26,000 non-government primary schools during her tenure.

Prof Siddique, on the other hand, said apart from the inclusive approach of universal education in primary level, Bangabandhu felt the necessity of academic excellence in higher level.

He said the University of Dhaka had a central role in the national history as both teachers and students of this premier higher seat of learning played key role in different transitions despite the then Pakistani rulers efforts to gag their voice.

“Under directive of Bangabandhu, the Dhaka University Order, 1973 was formulated to ensure full freedom of the university. It was milestone initiative of Bangabandhu to provide academic freedom to the teachers of Dhaka University to eventually help flourish higher education in the country,” he added.

The DU VC said Bangabandhu attached top priority to education as he considered spending in education as a best investment for development of the country and the issue of right of education was included in Article 17 of the Constitution of Bangladesh in accordance with Bangabandhu’s intense desire.

The article 17 states that “The State shall adopt effective measures for the purpose of

establishing a uniform, mass oriented and universal system of education and extending free and compulsory education to all children to such stage as may be determined by law”.

According to the article 17, the State also shall adopt effective measures for the purpose of relating education to the needs of society and producing properly trained and motivated citizens to serve those needs.