Education Administration refers to the agencies concerned and government machineries regulating the administration and management of the country';s educational institutions and supporting offices. At present, mainly two organisations are mainly responsible for administration and management of education in Bangladesh at the highest level: the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Primary and Mass Education Division (PMED). At the central level, there are three types of bodies under the MOE and PMED: directorates, professional organisations, and semi-autonomous bodies.
There are four directorates/departments under MOE: Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE); Directorate of Technical Education (DTE); Directorate of Inspection and Audit (DIA); and Facilities Department (FD). Two directorates under the PMED are the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) and the Directorate of Non-formal Education (DNFE). There are three professional organisations: National Academy for Educational Management; Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics; and National Academy for Primary Education.
There are several semi-autonomous bodies under MOE. These are: national curriculum and textbook board (NCTB), Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE), Technical Education Board, Madrasah Education Board, university grants commission (UGC), and Council of Bangladesh Institutes of Technology (BIT). At the institutional or micro-level, the managing committee or the governing body of the institution, as the case may be, and the head of the institution, are responsible for administration and management of the institutions.
The formal education system broadly works in three stages primary, secondary and tertiary/higher. Primary education is for five years (grades I to V), the secondary stage for seven years (grades VI to XII) and tertiary/higher education for two to five years (grade XIII and higher). Secondary education is subdivided into three stages: junior secondary (grades VI to VIII), secondary (grades IX and X) and higher secondary (grades XI and XII). It takes two years to get an ordinary (pass) graduation degree, three to four years for an honours degree, and one to two years for a masters degree. For higher degrees (M S, M Phil, or Ph D), a minimum of two years is necessary after graduation.
Parallel to general education, there is an Islamic religious stream known as madrasah education. It consists of five stages: five-year primary - ebtedayee; five-year secondary - dakhil; two-year higher secondary - alim; two-year bachelor (pass) degree - fazil; and two-year masters degree - kamil. The dakhil and alim examinations have been recognised as equivalent to SSC and HSC examinations of the general stream. Fazil and kamil have not yet been recognised as equivalent to degree (pass) and masters degrees of the general stream.
The other streams are: technical and vocational education, engineering education, agriculture education, medical education, law education and business education. There are three levels in technical and vocational education: (i) certificate level of one to two years after grade VIII; (ii) diploma level of three years after SSC; and (iii) degree level of four years after HSC. Engineering, agriculture, medical, business and law education comprise graduate and post-graduate level education after the HSC.
The National Academy for Primary Education is the apex training and research institute entrusted with the responsibility of bringing about qualitative improvement in primary education. It conducts in-service training and refresher courses for PTI instructors and primary education functionaries at different levels. It is also responsible for development of the curriculum for the 'Certificate in Education'; courses for primary teacher training.
The institutionalisation of non-formal education (NFE) as complimentary and supplementary to the formal education system is a recent development in Bangladesh. The process started in 1991 under a project named Integrated Non-formal Education Programme (INFEP) to develop infrastructure in the NFE sector.
The Ministry of Education is the apex body responsible for policy making, planning, directing, and controlling the administration and management of secondary, higher and technical education in Bangladesh. The implementing bodies are, however, different for secondary education, higher education and technical education.
The chief executive of the MOE is the education minister. A secretary, an additional secretary, and a number of joint secretaries, deputy secretaries, assistant secretaries and other supporting staff assist him. MOE has a planning cell headed by a chief. The planning cell finalises and processes development project proposals submitted by the line organisations under the ministry for approval by the government. In addition, the Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO is included in the organisational structure of the ministry. The BNCU is a focal point of UNESCO. It implements programmes undertaken by the UNESCO.
DSHE performs the overall responsibility of the administration and management of secondary education, madrasah education and college education. Headed by a Director General. It has four wings: college and administration wing; secondary education wing; planning and development wing; and training wing, each headed by a director. There is also a physical education wing headed by a deputy director.
The overall responsibility of implementing policies, plans and programmes of the government in respect of secondary, madrasah, and college education lies with the DSHE. The functions of the DSHE include recruitment, posting, transfer, promotion of teachers and staff of government schools, colleges and madrasahs; sanctioning their leave and pension; taking disciplinary actions; disbursement of subventions and grants to non-government schools, colleges and madrasahs; undertaking work regarding affiliation and managing committee formation of non-government institutions; conducting teachers training programmes; preparing and implementing development projects, etc. It is the central organisation responsible for overall supervision, monitoring, and evaluation of secondary, college and madrasah education. At the field level, supervision and monitoring of secondary level institutions are done by regional and district offices. Higher level institutions are, however, directly under DSHE.
The directorate of technical education (DTE), responsible for the administration and management of technical and vocational education in Bangladesh, was established in 1961. Headed by a Director General it has five wings headed by a Director: a administrative wing; a planning wing; a vocational training wing; a project implementation unit; and a programme inspection wing. There are 10 assistant directors, and other supporting staff under the directors. There are four regional offices located in the four old divisional cities of the country Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna. There are one regional inspector and one assistant regional inspector in each regional office.
The National Curriculum and Textbook Board is entrusted with the responsibility of curriculum development and textbook production. There are 53 primary training institutes (PTIs) in the country for imparting training to primary teachers.
The Directorate of Inspection and Audit (DIA) was established in 1981 with a view to ensuring proper utilisation of the huge amount of government grants to non-government institutions in the form of salary support to teachers and employees, improving the quality of education at the school and college levels through academic supervision, and improving the financial management of non-government institutions. The head of the DIA is a director who is assisted by a joint director, four deputy directors, and a number of inspectors, auditors, and other supporting staff. An inspection and audit team under each deputy director visits non-government institutions on a routine basis and inspects and audits their accounts. They also offer advice in respect of maintaining proper accounts. They report to MOE if any financial irregularities are detected.
The Facilities Department (FD) is, in fact, the engineering department of the MOE. It was established in 1986 to be responsible for the construction and repair of educational institutions and other buildings under the MOE. The head of the FD is a chief engineer. Two superintendent engineers, six executive engineers, and other supporting staff assist him at the centre, including assistant engineers and sub-assistant engineers. The organisational structure of the FD extends up to the thana level from the centre to zones to districts.
A chairman, with the rank and status of a State Minister, heads the University Grants Commission (UGC), established in 1973. There are two full-time and nine part-time members. In addition, there is a secretary, a number of directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, and supporting staff. The government allocates fund to UGC through the MOE for the development and maintenance of universities and for improvement of higher education and research. UGC re-allocates this fund among universities according to their individual needs and demands. Other responsibilities performed by UGC include assessment of educational needs at the university level, both public and private formulation of specific plans for the improvement of higher education, collection of information in respect of higher education, and offering advise to the government regarding establishment of new universities and expansion of existing ones.
The Council of Bangladesh Institutes of Technology had to co-ordinate the functions of the new defunct four engineering colleges of the country. In 1986, those colleges were renamed as Bangladesh Institute of Technology (BIT) and made degree-awarding institutions. The council under the leadership of a chairman performed the responsibilities of coordination among the BITs, preparing curriculum, and conducting examinations. But the BITs later turned into autonomous Engineering and Technology Universities and went under the jurisdiction of UGC.
At the institution level, the heads of the institution play the key role in administration and management. For a non-government institution, however, the head of the institution is to work under a managing committee, which is known as a school managing committee in the case of secondary schools, and governing body in the case of colleges. Respective boards of intermediate and secondary education in case of schools, the NATIONAL UNIVERSITY in case of colleges, and the Madrasah Education Board in case of madrasahs determine the constitution, power and responsibilities of these committees. There is no managing committee for government institutions (schools, colleges, madrasahs). They are managed directly by DSHE and its regional and district officers.
The educational administration and management system in Bangladesh is highly centralised with virtually no power and authority delegated to field officers. Even directorates have limited authority. All power is concentrated at the ministry. However, the decentralisation of the educational administration and management system with delegated power and authority to the field officers has recently been made tentatively. [S Doha] [Doha, Shamsud Foundation for Research on Educational Planning and Development, Dhaka]