University of Tasmania
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From the post-colonial puzzle to the lived experiences : a critical policy trajectory study of secondary English language education in Bangladesh

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posted on 2023-05-27, 08:57 authored by Nur, S
Exploratory in nature, this study aimed to develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of English language education policy, with a specific focus on secondary education in Bangladesh. The policy trajectory model (Bowe, Ball, & Gold, 1992) was employed as an overarching analytical framework within which language-in-education planning (Kaplan & Baldauf, 1997, 2003, 2005) was contextualised and investigated. The framework, with its three critical lenses of policy process‚ÄövÑvÆthe macro context of influence, the meso context of policy text and the micro context of practice‚ÄövÑvÆ has facilitated an exploration of the 'bigger picture' of secondary English education in Bangladesh. A qualitative case study approach was employed. The data were generated using documents, semi-structured interviews and observations. The qualitative content analysis of pertinent historical and policy documents was conducted to identify the factors that influenced developing English education policy in Bangladesh. Similarly, a qualitative content analysis of the latest policy documents, the National Education Policy 2010 (NEP 2010) and the National Curriculum for English 2012 (NCE 2012) was undertaken to understand the policy objectives and recommendations regarding secondary English education. Finally, along with observations of schools, the thematic analysis of interviews with the purposeful sample of Bangladeshi secondary school English teachers, school principals and teacher trainers enabled a more in-depth investigation of the policy objectives and recommendations. The overall findings of the study revealed a non-linear, complex, technical and incongruent approach to the policy process in secondary English education. Having an inorganic relationship with the English language and English education, the macro level findings indicated a 'post-colonial puzzle' (Lin & Martin, 2005), that is, a tension between colonialism, nationalism and globalisation. At the meso level, the policy directions regarding English education in the NEP 2010 and the NCE 2012, though appearing to be egalitarian and aspirational, were also found to be prescriptive, incongruent and silent, and so contributed to a perception of Bangladeshi secondary English education policy as a clogged wheel. Issues around disparities, rejections, negotiations and contestations emerged as key themes from the lived experiences of English teachers, school principals and teacher trainers regarding the micro level practice of secondary English education policy in both rural and urban contexts. As Bangladesh strives to find its place in a globalised world, these issues pertaining to English education are fundamental. The findings of this study suggest that if English education policy development is to meet the needs of an emerging nation, then it must be coordinated, resourced and truly equitable across all secondary education contexts. Against the historical backdrop of colonisation, resistance and the gaining of independence, English language teaching in Bangladesh, if is to be strengthened, must be given full, effective attention and support at the macro and meso levels. The study has concluded that there are initiatives that support this notion. The road to secondary English education in Bangladesh offers hope for the future, as long as further policy reformation ensures a coordinated approach, providing a combination of 'pressure' and 'support' (Fullan, 2005) at the implementation stage.


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