The study had following objectives: (1) To critically examine the mathematics curriculum for primary education in Bangladesh and West Bengal of India. (2) To identify the teaching process of primary mathematics that takes place in classes of Bangladesh and West Bengal of India. (3) To identify the problems and obstacles in transacting primary mathematics curriculum in classroom situation in Bangladesh and West Bengal of India. (4) To identify the major strengths and weaknesses of the primary mathematics curricula of Bangladesh and West Bengal of India. (5) To compare the primary mathematics curriculum of Bangladesh with that of West Bengal of India with respect to teaching process in classes; problems and obstacles in transaction of curriculum in classroom; and strengths and weakness of the curriculum. (6) Provide specific suggestions for revision and modification of primary mathematics curriculum of Bangladesh and West Bengal of India.
Sample comprised of 240 mathematics teachers (120 from each country), 120 academic supervisor (60 from each country), 6-6 curriculum specialists, 4-4 subject specialists and classroom observation of 24 primary schools (12 from each country).
The investigator developed the tools, two questionnaires, one for the primary school and mathematics teachers, the other for the academic supervisor, one opinionnaire for one expert, and an observation schedule.
The study was descriptive survey in nature.
Quantitative data were analyzed by using frequency and mean, and qualitative analysis were made of critical analysis in context of curriculum objectives and its comparison with standard set of objectives (RCDICM DCA) have been utilized.
The study involved following findings: (1) The set of objectives of mathematics curriculum considered by West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WEBPE) is larger, more comprehensive and maintain the logical order of presentation than the set of objectives prescribed by Bangladesh National Curriculum Textbook Board (BNCTB). Also it is found that the set of objectives prescribed by WBBPE focus on higher level cognitive development of pupils while similar objectives focusing on higher level ability are absent in the list of objectives prescribed by BNCTB. But none of these acts of objectives are at par with the standard set of objectives as prescribed by the experts of RCDICMDCA. (2) Five learning areas such as number’ and numeration’, four’ fundamental operations’, day to day life problems’, pictorial representation of data’, and geometry’ are common areas included in the textbooks of both countries and counting’ is more emphasized and spirally distributed in grades I to III and also prescribed by BNCTB while manipulation of counting is not highlighted in the textbook of WBBPE even though the topics related to counting numbers are presenting in the textbooks of West Bengal. (3) Introduction to each topic in the textbook of WBBPE is made more interesting than that of BNCTB. (4) More pictures, diagrams, graphs, tables are included and labeled in better way in the textbooks of BNCTB than that of WBBPE. (5) More barriers are found in Bangladesh compared to West Bengal for in-service training program. Teachers from Bangladesh (73%) and West Bengal opined that one of the main barrier is shortage of mathematics teachers in the schools. (6) By and large use of teaching aids is more by the teachers of West Bengal in respective contents as compared to teachers of Bangladesh. (7) The most commonly used teaching method is the problem-solving method used by almost all teachers of both countries followed by the question answer. In this regard, West Bengal teachers used problem solving’ and question-answer’ more than that of Bangladesh teachers. (8) The daily lesson plan used more by the teachers of West Bengal (72%) for teaching mathematics than that of teachers of Bangladesh (34%). (9) Teachers and pupils related problems were found more in Bangladesh classrooms than that of West Bengal. There are similar types of problems in classroom of both countries, like, insufficient use of teaching aids, lack of mastery in conceptual understanding of mathematics subject by the teachers, irregular attendance of teachers and inappropriate teacher-pupil ratio. (10) It was found that the human and non human resources have direct impact in process and product of mathematics teaching of both countries. (11) In-service training facilities are found more in West Bengal than that of Bangladesh. (12) In both the countries it was found that the content areas of mathematics textbooks reflected the socio-cultural aspects of the respective country. (13) All teachers and pupils from both countries use mathematics textbooks during teaching-learning process in the classroom. (14) On an average, 71.8% mathematics teachers in the schools of Bangladesh did not summarize the lesson while teaching on the other hand it was found that 86.6% mathematics teachers in the schools of West Bengal Summarized the lesson at the end of the class through questioning and problem solving while teaching. (15) Strength of mathematics curriculum of both the countries are skill development in mathematics, suitable content-areas, distributed spirally grade-wise (in textbooks), content integration with socio-cultural aspects and sequencing the content from concrete to abstract with appropriate evaluation procedure. (16) Weaknesses of mathematics curriculum of both the countries are word problems, inadequate number of teaching aids used and classroom highly crowded in the urban areas.
Keyword(s): Comparative Study, Mathematics Education, Curriculum, Primary Level, Bangladesh, India (West Bengal)