Vol. 4 Num 213 Wed. December 31, 2003  

Admission season peaking
School crisis hits sore-point
It is called problem of admission, but we call it crisis of schools. Why we call it so, would be clear from a simple statistical analysis. There are 322 secondary-level schools in Dhaka city. Of them 24 are government run. Only 15-16 schools are sought after by parents for getting their wards admitted into. The break-up is even more tell-tale; three to four government schools and 10-12 private sector ones are facing the brunt of admission rush.

An overwhelming number of schools 300 plus are left in the lurch as very few admission seekers are collecting application forms from them. Even some of the reputed schools of yesteryears like Pogose High School and Nawabpur Government High School are being sidetracked. The parental preference is also visibly shifting towards private schools, the number of favourite government-run schools remaining static: Government Laboratory School, Dhanmondi Government Boys' School and Motijheel Government Girls' High School. Although the admission tests for government schools are being conducted centrally, the parental choice is concentrated on those just three schools. Private schools are being increasingly chosen for good management practices, quality of teaching and class room tests that make the students comprehend the concepts better.

Now, the rush for admission to few schools spawns donation culture, commercial coaching and influence peddling which in turn make the system opaque and discriminatory.

In a broader context, it amounts to waste of school space in a country which can ill-afford idle schools, given the none-too-happy literacy status of the country. The issue basically is lack of uniformity in the quality and standard of schools. The dire need is to upgrade the large number of schools that have gone comatose over the years. Management is the core concern there.