Hints: Introduction, What is education? Initiatives are taken by Bangladesh, Female education, Nonformal education, Problems, Steps should be taken, National awareness, Conclusion.
Bangladesh is constitutionally committed to impart education for all as a basic human right and has put a lot of effort towards achieving this aim. In the twenty-first century, Bangladesh has a long way to go in terms of human development. For this education is very much needed. Education is the backbone of a nation. So, Bangladesh has been trying to educate all people of this country.
What is education?
Education is the process by which our mind develops through formal learning at an institution like a school, college, or university. It is both mental and intellectual training that provides growth opportunities and helps to meet challenges and overcome obstacles to progress. It is also the business of education to train individuals to make the right choices to go ahead. It ennobles our minds and refines our sensibility. It also broadens our outlook and responsibilities.
Initiatives are taken by Bangladesh
Bangladesh has already taken various programs for education for all. Bangladesh is a signatory of the World Declaration on Education for All (WDEFA) held in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990. As a follow to of WDEFA, a National Plan for Action (NPA) for Education For All (EFA) 2000 was prepared. NGOs are playing a vital role in implementing non-formal basic education for children, adolescents, and adults. They are making a great contribution to achieving EFA by running non-formal primary basic education centers supplementary to the formal education system.
The government has developed the ‘National Education Policy, 2000’ where creating awareness has been given priority. One of the main policies is including environmental studies at the primary level. National Academy for Education and Management (NAEM) Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC) has pre-service and in-service training where environmental education is a part of the training curriculum.
The government has initiated an Integrated Non-formal Education Programme (INFEP) under which the following programs were implemented :
- Establishment of a pre-primary stream for infants (4-5 years)
- A non-formal basic education program for out of school and school dropout children (6-10 years)
- Establishment of a non-formal education system for adolescents (11-14 years)
- Introduction of functional literacy for adult literates (15-45 years)
- Consolidation of acquired skills of neo-literates through providing post-literacy service.
An education policy giving priority to female education and eradicating illiteracy by 2020 has been formulated. An initiated special program, i.e., stipend for girls up to HSC, Food for Education, etc. 60% posts in primary school and 100% posts in satellite schools are reserved for female teachers. 28 NGOs have been given the responsibility to establish schools in villages where non-existent physical infrastructure for primary and secondary school have been developed all over the country. Teachers training through development projects and non-formal education programs for adults and adolescents all over the country are running on.
In response to the high disparity in literacy and educational attainment existing between boys and girls, it is fairly well known that there are great inequalities in literacy and educational achievements between boys and girls in Bangladesh. In 1975 of the total number of students in primary schools was only 35% female while the proportion of male students was 65%. Half of our people are women. So, it is not possible to make a developed country without educating our women. So, to reduce these differences the government of Bangladesh has already taken some measures, for example, making primary education free and compulsory and making female education free up to HSC in non-municipal areas, and providing incentives to the girl students in the form of stipends and scholarships. The program, in fact, builds an initial success story on enhanced girl child enrollment achieved by some NGOs. It’s a very good sign for our country that our girls are going to be educated.
Non-formal education refers to those learning systems which do not come within the scope of formal pursued in schools, colleges, universities, and other formal education systems. There are three (3) principal types of non-formal education;
- Adult literacy and functional education.
- Alternative school run by the NGO.
- Pre-education and feeder schools.
Adult literacy and functional education are aimed at raising their awareness and providing basic skills of reading, writing, and counting, and these programs are run by the government mass education and by many NGOs. Non-formal education has an important role to play toward promoting literacy, functional education, and skill training among illiterate adults and children as appropriate.
With more than 78,000 primary schools and about two and a half lakh teachers and more than two crore students, the primary education system of Bangladesh is a fairly large one. It goes without saying that to manage such a gigantic enterprise efficiently, a certain mechanism has to be established. Unfortunately, such a mechanism has been absent in the country for a long time as a result of which the primary education system has always remained in the doldrums.
It has been alleged that proper education is not being imparted in primary schools although the government is investing a huge amount of money for teachers’ salaries, school buildings, and equipment. The main reason for the deterioration of teaching standards in primary school is the poor quality of teaching. Another reason for the poor quality of teaching is the lack of supervision and management. Academic supervision is a must for improving the quality of teaching but this has never been done effectively in our primary schools. Another problem is the unplanned location of schools. It is seen that in some areas there are too many schools in one locality, but in others, there are too few and the students have to walk a long distance to attend a school. Another problem is the proper use of financing.
Steps should be taken
It is now generally felt that in Bangladesh over two decades (beginning in the late 80s) some definite measures have been undertaken by the state and the NGOs with the assistance of bilateral and multilateral donors to improve the performance of the primary education sub-section.
Multilateral agencies such as UNESCO, World Bank, and ADB have extended loans to finance different development projects in the sub-section. To ensure proper academic supervision of teaching in the schools, a sufficient number of school inspectors should be appointed at the upgrade thana level. Although the National Academy for Primary Education has been established in Mymensingh to undertake programs for improving the quality of primary education through refresher trainers and researchers, it is not capable alone to help 78,000 schools and 2.5 lakh, teachers. Primary Training Institute (PTI) should be strengthened not only in terms of teachers but also in terms of curriculum.
Bangladesh has put a lot of effort towards achieving the aim of educating all. Though Bangladesh has recorded outstanding progress in education we should do more. We have to educate our people more and within 2020 we need a country without illiteracy. So, these steps should be taken :
- Build a stronger, wider, and deeper foundation of basic education.
- Reorient and establish secondary education on a more equitable footing.
- We have to make aware all the people of our country.
- Everyone should take responsibility to make a literate country.
- We should change our outlook on female education.
- Manage the total system better.
National awareness It is a happy sign that due importance is being given to the cause of education and the present government has given the topmost priority to education in the national budget. Besides, the mass media, especially radio, TV, cinema, and newspapers can play a vital role in making people more conscious of the importance of literacy in the life of our nation. They can broadcast and publish regular features on various aspects of basic education, female and adult education, and above all, mass education, Moreover, it is the social responsibility of the literate people, men, and women, to make some concerted efforts to remove the curse of illiteracy from our society. And thus only we, the poor Bengalis, can able to make our beloved motherland a paradise of eternal happiness and development by ensuring education for all.
Our survival and the quality of our survival depend on the quality of the environment that we maintain which will be possible only by getting a proper education. If everyone starts today, we can make our sweet and beloved country a better place. Education is a dynamic process. The moment it becomes stagnant is literally dead. Perhaps the greatest strength of education in Bangladesh is the consistently high level of national commitment and consensus on the priority of primary education. As a result of this commitment, progress is spawned. Bangladesh has achieved one of the largest centralized systems of primary education in the world and we should prove universal primary education to all to our present and future citizens to build up a better Bangladesh within a reasonably short time.