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Dhaka, Apr 5 (UNI) Bangladesh kids spend the least time in schools as compared to children in other Saarc nations.

Educational institutions, especially the government primary and high schools, officially remain open for only 228 days every year to cover class activities, examinations and other programmes.

Students of these schools get less than 30 hours per week to interact with teachers, much lower than that of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan, sources in the education ministry said.

"The future of the nation is dark because school students lack adequate academic knowledge. Children's time is not being utilised properly. Education has become a commodity where investment gets maximum priority," renowned academician Prof Dr Zillur Rahman Siddique told The Daily Star.

"Students have to depend on private tuition because schools have failed to provide proper education. For this reason students from poor families, especially in rural areas, are being deprived of education," said the former vice-chancellor of Jahangirnagar University.

Allegations are rife that many teachers give private tuition in batches even in the school after the classes. Taking the opportunity of long leave, teachers also give more attention to private tuition rather than imparting education in the classrooms, guardians and students allege.

Education Watch Report-2006, a survey conducted by Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), reports, 88 per cent students of government schools and 78 per cent students of non-government schools in urban areas have private coaching or tutors. Parents spend Takka 16,894 on an average annually on a child's private education.

UNI XC NC BST1313

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