They have also suggested making textbooks more intelligible and creating central question banks to choose questions from them.

They came up with the suggestions at a views-exchange meeting on the quality of education at the secondary level at CIRDAP auditorium in the capital on Thursday.

Most of the 100-mark question papers at Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams contain 40-mark MCQs and 60-mark descriptive questions.

Question papers of subjects having 25-mark practical tests contain 35-mark MCQs and 40-mark descriptive questions.

The government has a plan to reduce MCQ marks by 10 in 2017.

Former Bangladesh Bank governor Mohammed Farashuddin said MCQs should be scrapped in public exams.

"Coaching centres and private tutors are doing brisk business. What is the need of textbooks if students require reading guidebooks?" he said.

He suggested that public exams be completed in 10 days.

Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed noted that teachers were following guidebooks, thus failing to prepare 'creative' question papers.

He recommended creating central question banks and choosing quizzes from them.

"The present high success rates are creating doubts and eroding people's trust (in the education system)," he said.

Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) Executive Director Rasheda K Choudhury proposed making education up to the eighth grade free and compulsory.

She was of the opinion that MCQs should be scrapped.

Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal said textbooks should be written in a way so that students did not require private tutors.

BUET professor Mohammad Kaykobad urged all concerned to improve textbooks. He called for a better answer sheet evaluation system.

Responding to the suggestions, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said at the meeting that his ministry would determine the work-plan based on the suggestions the academics had made.

He reminded the academics of the government's plan to reduce MCQs by 10 next year.

The minister said on May 30 last year that the government was thinking of scrapping MCQs in the public exams to stop 'unethical activities of teachers'.

Source: Bangladesh's First Internet Newspaper