At the beginning of the nineteenth century a system of liberal English-language schools based on the British model was instituted in the region that now constitutes Bangladesh. The emphasis on British education led to the growth of an elite class that provided clerical and administrative support to the colonial administration but did not develop practical skills or technical knowledge. The new elite became alienated from the masses of the people, who had no access to the new education system.
During the Pakistan period, there was a general awareness of the need to restructure the education system to meet the needs of the new nation. A 1959 report by Pakistan's National Commission on Education recommended a series of reforms that would reorganize the structure of education. These reforms included emphasis on broadbased and technical education. In the successive five-year plans and other national economic policy documents developed during the Pakistan period, a need was articulated to shift the focus of education away from rote memorization and to expand facilities for scientific and technological education. But the impact of such policies was not felt in East Pakistan, and, with only a few exceptions, a liberal elite-based education system with very little awareness of life in the countryside was in place when Bangladesh became independent.
|Country Studies main page | Bangladesh Country Studies main page|