The Bangladeshi education system still remains sub-standard, and by patting ourselves on the back for increasing enrolment in secondary education, we are doing our nation, and its future generations, a great disservice.
A recent report put out by an independent body lauded Bangladesh's efforts to increase enrolment rates. While this is not a negative development, we would contend that our habit of keeping track of the rate of enrolment misses the larger point.
Enrolment in our country does not translate to attendance. It is easy to find government schools with 50 children enrolled, of whom only 20 actually attend.
Our educational system also leaves a lot to be desired. Most public schools in the nation suffer from poor facilities, a lack of textbooks, sub-standard teachers and an out-dated, poorly designed curriculum that does not stimulate intellectual creativity or advancement. Bangladesh's educational system also emphasises learning by rote, which means that graduated students do not necessarily gain the skills needed to apply their knowledge in the real world.
What we need to focus on now is updating our education system so that Bangladeshi students are actually intellectually stimulated and can gain a competitive advantage with regard to education.
Additionally, we need to change our methods in assessing the education system. It is far more meaningful for us to measure different indicators such as accessibility, graduation rates, professional development, critical thinking skills and aptitude for meaningful research.
The government, and private initiatives, need to stop focusing on just enrolment numbers and start focusing on the quality of education and the positive impact that can have on the lives of our citizens.