Education

Education (35)

Rozina and her family

Rozina is 20 years old and will soon be heading towards Rajasthan, India to study Bachelor of Business Administration. Her father is a tailor and her mother is a housewife.  She is the eldest daughter among five children. Her interest lies in Accounting. In the future she wants to help underprivileged through social work.

Rozina’s family is so poor that she was forced to live at her grandparent’s home for 4 years after completing Class 6. Her grandparents were not even financially solvent but they could afford a safe place for her. There she attended the nearby BRAC school. Rozina says that without BRAC’s scholarship, she would not be able to continue her studies. She believes that BRAC’s support helped her to do well in her studies and also helped her to develop English language skills.

Roziana’s mother is happy and proud for her daughter. She hopes that her daughter will study hard and in future she will be capable to draw a handsome salary. She feels that BRAC has showed the light to her family and it will ultimately elevate them out of the cycle of poverty.

Rozina’s mother emphasised this by revealing that in future she expects her daughter to take care of their family. It is clear that Rozina’s family is depending on her, but it also apparent that by providing educational opportunity BRAC is helping to bring about women empowerment.

 

Read about Medhabikash programme

In our country most children dream to become doctors, but practically very few can stick to their dreams. Zahirul Islam was one of those who never abandoned his dream. He is the only son among six children. He lost his father in childhood. His widowed mother, Jobeda Bewa, supports their family of seven with a small income from their 45 decimal land. As a meritorious student Zahirul earned government scholarships to continue his primary and secondary education. After Secondary School Certificates (SSC) exam financial crisis became a barrier to his education.

After finishing the SSC exam he applied and won the BRAC Medhabikash Scholarship. He achieved an excellent result in HSC (Higher Secondary School Certificates) examination. Zahirul applied for a scholarship again to complete his undergraduate study. He got into Sir Salimullah Medical College, the second best medical college in Bangladesh.

Zahirul is now a fourth year student at Sir Salimullah Medical College. Zahirul says: “Many underprivileged meritorious students give up their dream of getting higher education when they face financial constraints, but I am fortunate that I have received BRAC’s support all the way to reach my goal. I am very close to my lifelong dream i.e. to become a doctor and BRAC deserves my sincere thanks for that.

 

Read about Medhabikash programme

Saturday, 05 March 2016 18:00

Neuro-developmental disability (NDD)

Since 2003, BRAC has been working with CSN but children with any type of profound impaired are still segregated from BRAC School. To promote the rights of children, the CSN unit intended to ensure the enrolment of the profoundly impaired children where feasible. In 2013, the government signed neuro-developmental disability safely trust law and then BRAC started working as a pilot with ID along with autism, CP and down syndrome persons from the community named as neuro-developmental disability (NDD) centre. In 5 January 2013 the first NDD centre was opened in Korail slum of Dhaka jointly with BRAC’s health, nutrition and population programme (HNPP). Till June 2015, three more NDD centres have been opened respectively in Pabna, Gazipur and Khulna.

Quick facts:
40,316 CSN students

14,289 children receiving treatment

- 14,289 receiving eye treatment
- 414 received eye operation
- 2,920 received hearing treatment
- 820 received cleft lip and palate operation
- 2,947 provided with assistive device

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXLZn_0EZew.

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 18:00

Kumon mathematics at BRAC schools

Kumon is a Japanese math and reading method which is practiced in the Kumon centres. The first Kumon Centre was opened in Osaka, Japan in 1985. As of November 2014, over 4.3 million students have been enrolled under Kumon method in more than 30,000 Kumon Centres in 48 countries around the world. In Bangladesh, Kumon was firstly introduced in BRAC Education Programme by the fund of JICA. The pre-piloting started in three of BRAC Primary Schools (BPS) in November 2014 for math.

The Kumon method stands on two main pillars: ‘individualised instruction’ and ‘self-learning.’

The key element of the former is ‘study at the just right level’. To develop children’s scholastic ability, the most important thing is to help them derive joy from their studies. The 'just right level of study' is not just the level where a student can easily complete work; it is the level where, at any time with maximum effort, a student can progress on their own without being specifically taught.

Kumon defines the latter as the ability to set goals and solve unfamiliar and challenging tasks independently.

This ability is nurtured through encouraging students to solve materials on their own. As they go about their work independently the desire to learn and the ambition to advance forward are aroused.

Instruction is carried out so that children can experience over and over the sense of accomplishment and boosting of confidence that comes with solving problems by oneself. The accumulation of such experience nurtures in children the ability to independently take on new challenges. Kumon is mainly taught in mathematics.

Skills and Knowledge Acquisition (Style of Learning)
Kumon is a self-learning method based on individualised instructions and worksheets. Students start from a point where they can easily obtain, with maximum effort, a perfect score of 100. Studying at their own pace, at a level that is appropriate for their ability enables them to strengthen their foundations for learning as well as develop confidence, as they catch up to their grade level, and eventually even advancing far beyond it.   

Learning materials
The math component consists of a total of 5,520 worksheets divided into 28 levels (pre-school to high school level, and elective courses).
Worksheets have been specifically designed to advance in small steps. This allows students to progress smoothly at their own pace while learning at level most appropriate for them.

Worksheets focus on the development of strong calculation skills, by avoiding all unrelated concepts. This allows students to advance as quickly as possible on their own to high school level mathematics.

Role of teacher
Teachers are referred to as Kumon instructors. Rather than teaching the same content to all students collectively, as practiced in a regular school class setting, a Kumon instructor focuses on each individual. Her role is to ensure that every student is 'studying at the just right level,' taking a number of factors into account. These include closely observing a student's study behavior, and keeping records of daily progress which allows them to gain a sound idea of each student's progress and development. Another significant aspect of their role is to acknowledge the students' development by praising them for their achievements and encouraging them to set goals and take on further challenges.

BRAC signed a MoU with the ICT division of Ministry of Posts, Telecommunication and IT on 28 April 2014. The purpose of this partnership is to develop interactive multimedia content for primary education on mathematics, science and social science based on NCTB primary (class I-V) curriculum.

This will ensure conceptual clarity and better application of lessons for both students and teachers; improve the quality of education by shifting the style from teacher-centred to an interactive and engaging learner-centred classroom environment.

Mini library: In each of BRAC’s primary schools, there are mini libraries which help students to strengthen reading and comprehension skills.

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 18:00

Mobile library for BRAC Primary Schools

A student needs the right tools in order to boost critical thinking and become competent BEP recognises that developing the habit of reading from a young age enhances creativity and analytical thinking. It took the initiative to promote reading habit among its primary school students through mobile library. Currently, BEP is operating 2,715 mobile libraries. Students and teachers get the chance to go to the library twice a month.

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 18:00

Aflatoun

 

 

Aflatoun has an Arabic origin and means 'explorer'. The concept of Aflatoun was initiated in India. Currently, the concept is put in place in several countries across the globe after establishing its secretariat in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Aflatoun secretariat advocates widening the concept worldwide by creating partnerships with several governments and non-government organisations.

The main aim of Aflatoun is to teach the children about social values and their rights and responsibilities coupled with basic financial education to empower them to become agents of change. The core objective is to facilitate the inclusion of Child Social and Financial Education into formal and informal education systems and recognition of children's rights.

Aflatoun and BRAC’s partnership:
In 2008, BEP started working with Aflatoun and implemented its concept as a pilot project in BPS, adolescent clubs and government approved secondary schools where BRAC works.

Aflatoun curriculum:
The Aflatoun curriculum is based on five core elements:
•    Personal understanding and exploration
•    Rights and responsibilities
•    Savings and spending
•    Planning and budgeting
•    Child social entrepreneurship

Ways in which BRAC has developed this curriculum in the Bangladesh context:
The Aflatoun curriculum was developed for Bangladeshi children aged six to 14 years and for classes 1-8. It is designed in Bangla, and addresses local cultures and requirements to ensure that the Aflatoun message is passed on to all children everywhere. For classes 1-8, eight workbooks are written based on the following concepts:

Workbook 1: Uniqueness and difference, respect for others, saving concept
Workbook 2: A child’s interdependence with, family, neighbourhood and community, and money as a means of satisfying some needs, not wants
Workbook 3: Self-exploration through understanding feelings, financial ethics and transparency, environmental preservation
Workbook 4: Responsible behaviour and citizenship, developing pride, collective action, organisational skills
Workbook 5: Needs, rights and responsibilities, income, expenditure and saving, democracy and leadership, and fulfilment of needs and wellbeing
Workbook 6: Marginalisation and exclusion, child enterprise, planning and budgeting, banking with a real savings account exploration of poverty
Workbook 7: Myths and stereotypes, setting of financial goals, enterprising activity, exploring links between income, expenditure, savings and investment
Workbook 8: Self-reflection, biases and prejudices, gender stereotypes, development of financial capabilities

Key findings:
•    Children are now more aware about their rights, responsibilities and social issues
•    They  have learnt the importance of savings •    They can prioritise where to spend
•    They are learning to utilise used materials
•    They are cost-conscious now
•    They are investing their savings in buying hens, ducks and goats as assets
•    Their analytical ability has been enhanced

 

 

 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 18:00

Management services

  1. Management information system (MIS)
    BEP has a computer-based MIS that transforms data into information. The MIS unit continuously gathers relevant information and then processes, integrates, stores and disseminates key aspects and associates of the programme. The MIS indicators cover some of the outcome, output and activity indicators, as well as include all the key components of BEP. MIS helps management in planning and understanding the current state of the programme, including its coverage and quality, and identifies deviations. Thus it promotes making appropriate decisions by the programme management and contributes in improving programme performance. Information on the various components of the programme is collected from the field level following the prescribed format. BEP’s field monitors cross checks these data in order to ensure quality. The data is then sent to the regional offices and head office after being recorded electronically and shared with the area managers and branch managers. The MIS team at the head office has developed appropriate software to check the quality of data. Both planned and actual situations are compared while analysing this data.


  2. Monitoring unit
    In BEP, monitoring is one of the most important elements for improving the quality of our activities. The monitoring unit currently has 40 staff in the field and three at the head office, who are responsible for monitoring all the components of BEP, with special attention given to primary schools where demand for quality (learning outcomes) is relatively higher. Monitors usually have five to seven years of work experience in BEP and are selected from the best performing BRAC managers and quality assurance specialists. There are 14-16 branch offices with 500-600 primary schools and 300-400 pre-primary schools within the working area of a monitor. A monitor usually monitors 20-25 primary schools and 10-15 pre-primary schools (roughly 3-4 per cent of total) in a month from four to five branches. Both the branches and the sample schools are selected randomly. Monitoring is carried out on both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the programme. In the case of primary schools, qualitative indicators, such as classroom-based teaching and learning, teacher-student interactions, and learning outcome of students by subject are given priority. Of quantitative indicators, physical space within the classroom, student’s age, attendance, composition, (eg, ratio of boys to girls), quality of learning materials, and teachers’ selections are given importance.

     
  3. Planning and communication unit
    In 2002, BEP formed a unit to write effective reports, project proposals and maintain close contact with its development partners and other stakeholders involved in education sector. In 2012, this unit has been renamed as planning and communication unit. Along with the aforementioned tasks, the unit also handles external missions, ie, appraisals, midterm reviews, annul monitoring, consultants. In addition, the unit is responsible for corresponding related in-country/overseas training of staff and technical assistance for the programme. The planning and communication unit liaises with BRAC’s communications department, BRAC’s donor liaison office (DLO), BRAC International as well as BEP’s units to get information that helps to develop and prepare effective reports and work plan.  


  4. Logistics and administration
    BEP has a separate logistics and administration unit which, in collaboration with other components of BEP and related departments of BRAC, performs administrative activities and manages logistic operations. Following the procurement guidelines of the central procurement unit, this unit develops and implements logistic support policies, procedures and methodologies within BEP and ensures timely supply of materials to every component under BEP.


  5. LAMP (learning achievement, materials and pedagogy-capacity)
    In 2015, a new unit called LAMP (learning achievement, materials and pedagogy-capacity) has been developed with the aim of nurturing and managing skills, techniques and methods that BEP gained from experience on material development, enhancement of pedagogical aspects and application of supplementary materials as well as capacity building of teachers on pedagogy. The unit is aiming to be a centre of excellence.

    So far, the unit has developed supplementary materials on value education, regional issues in curriculum, climate change, science and Grade I Mathematics textbook,. To receive feedback on the developed materials, the unit has organised three national-level workshops.

    The unit is also piloting the Japanese KUMON method to strengthen foundations in math  in 17 BRAC primary schools in Dhaka and Gazipur.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 18:00

New interventions

School nutrition project

BEP started the school nutrition project in April 2012, in 13 government and 67 non-government primary schools. The goal of the project is to reduce the dropout rate in primary schools, mitigate short-term hunger and eliminate child malnutrition by involving local members of the community, mothers’ clubs and local NGOs, without interrupting the daily school routine.

Objectives

  • Provide nutritious food to children, between the ages of 5-11, in the primary schools of Bangladesh
  • Demonstrate a technical and operational model by conducting a school nutrition pilot programme in Bangladesh
  • Reduce the dropout rate and increase students’ enrolment in primary schools
  • Enhance access to quality education and improve the educational standard for students


School meal project

A pilot project named school meal was from January 2014, with the support of the World Food Programme (WFP). It operates in the areas of Jamalpur district which are prone to river erosion, covering 19 government primary schools, seven BRAC schools and five madrasas (religious schools).

Project objectives

  • To improve school enrolment and attendance
  • Reduce short-term hunger to improve students’ attention in the classroom
  • Increase the number of women cultivating vegetables in the village
  • Engage rural women in income-generating activities

The programme follows school-based kitchen model by providing freshly-cooked meals counting 735 kilocalorie five days a week. WFP provides fortified rice, oil, salt, local lintels and biscuits. 5,000 students receive nutritious khichuri each day during their lunch hour. Locally-grown fruits are also given depending on the availability. The rice is fortified with six essential vitamins and minerals, helping children to get the nutrients for their development and better learning.

Women from the community are selected for every kitchen as ‘kitchen shebikas’ and cooks. They receive training on school feeding strategy, food production and distribution, hygiene maintenance and food quality, etc. A committee consisting of five members are responsible for supervising the kitchen. A mothers’ club consisting of 12 mothers of children attending the schoolare responsible for distributing food within 30 minutes after the food has been prepared. The clubs are formed to create a sense of ownership for mothers.

PACE-MEJNIN project

Over the last decade, Bangladesh has made a tremendous progress in achieving gender parity in education including 100 per cent enrolment in primary education. BRAC’s contributions in this national achievement have been highly recognised by national and international stakeholders. Still, the quality of education and drop-out rate, particularly among girlsremain a matter of great concern.

 

BRAC’s programme PACE (post primary basic and continuing education) has been engaged in improving the quality of education with the broader objective of supplementing the government‘s effort to meet the target for secondary school completion with improved quality. Since 2001, PACE has evolved as a successful model that meets the needs of students in secondary schools. The approach involves and engages teachers, school management committees, parents and community people to support students to have a quality and continuous education.

 

Currently, PACE extended support to and works closely with students in 4,000 secondary schools.

 

 

As a model of intervention, BRAC made a strategic decision to run a pilot integrating the interventions of PACE and MEJNIN (meyeder jonnyo nirapod nagorikotto – safe citizenship for girls) programmes.

In PACE, the mentoring programme for schools, 25-30 students from classes 6 to 9 are selected as mentors following a selection criteria. Mentors provide social and academic assistance to fellow-students, ensure higher attendance in classes regularly, create enabling environment in classroom, participate and encourage members to be active in classroom activities, organise sports and inter-class debate competitions (at least once a year), publish wall magazines with creative writing from peers (at least two issues a year), help keep the school clean, participate in gardening among other roles. These existing mentor groups of PACE secondary schools form the student watch group (SWG).

 

Gonokendro or multipurpose community learning centres (MCLC) is an important hub at the community level under PACE which are established mostly in non government, secondary schools. People from the local communities assemble in these centres. A youth group is an active part of gonokendros, involved in social works within their communities. These existing platforms of PACE will act as community watch group in this process of integration. At the same time, community watch groups are formed selecting people who have wide acceptance in the community, a strong understanding of local culture, and show courage and commitment to work on the elimination of sexual harassment.

 

Objective of integrating the projects are:

  • To contribute to the reduction of child marriage and girls’ drop-out rate from schools
  • To create an enabling environment to protest and resist sexual harassment and violence against girls
  • To promote self-esteem, leadership and creativity among secondary school students
  • To increase staff capacity to deal with sexual harassment

 

The project has been implemented for the year of 2015 in 34 schools of two upazilas in Sylhet district.

To raise awareness on sexual harassment among students, teachers and communities in general, different types of activities have been taken. The main activities of this project include student workshop, teachers meeting, community watch group meeting, mentor watch group, community watch group among others. To build staff capacity to deal with sexual harassment training is provided for for LRP (local resource person) and staff, such as TOT (training of trainers) on gender , counselling and leadership. To promote self-esteem, leadership and creativity among secondary school students, this project also organises leadership training for mentors.

 

The project at a glance (until June 2015)

Activities

Total number

Female participants

Male participants

Total participants

Student workshop

107

8366 (48.04%)

9050 (51.96%)

17416

Teachers meeting

32

90   (17.48%)

425 (82.52%)

515

Formation of mentor watch group

34

585 (57.35%)

435 (42.65%)

1020

Mentor watch group follow up

15

252 (57.53%)

186 (42.47%)

438

Community watch group meeting

15

45   (28.85%)

111 (71.15%)

156

Community watch groups formed

15

46   (38.33%)

74 (61.67%)

120

Inception meeting with teachers, parents, community members, police and government officials at the sub-district level

2

1       (1.37%)

72 (98.63%)

73

 

 

Multipurpose community learning centres or gonokendros, a part of continuing education programme, were established in 1995 as community libraries. Within two years of establishment, these centre were registered as trusts and became self-financing in terms of operating expenses. Open to all, they also provide IT and other training in a range of trades (computer, electronics, livestock rearing, horticulture, fish culture, poultry, etc) in collaboration with the Department of Youth Development.

Gonokendros contain books, magazines, daily newspapers, and are usually managed by locally-recruited librarians. The centre provides an intergenerational meeting space and offer a number of services for adults, children and students. It also preserves local historical items, operate mobile libraries for women and the elderly, and houses a children’s corner. It also organises various cultural programmes.

The most remarkable achievement of these gonokendros is that a large number of semi-literate women have become regular readers. Recently, internet services have been introduced in 250 gonokendros in collaboration with Grameenphone.

The major characteristics of gonokendros are as follows:

  • Located at the union level in a space given by the community
  • Has an average of 400-500 members
  • Open for five to six hours per day, six days a week
  • Provides reading materials including books, newspapers and magazines Has a separate corner for children Operated by a part-time librarian (usually a woman from the community)
  • Hosts educational and sociocultural activities, skill development courses and sports for the youth
  • Becomes self-financed within two years by forming a trust

 

Following are the different activities of gonokendro:

Libraries Libraries are central to gonokendros. Most have a collection of 1,000 books . In addition, the libraries keep daily newspapersand magazines. They remain open for five to six hours a day for six days a week. People become members by paying a nominal amount for a year. On an average 60 people use gonokendros every day.

Reader’s forum To encourage a habit of reading and to increase the number of books issued, a good number of gonokendros have readers’ forum. Participants at such forums are given an extra card to borrow an extra book for a week. They also participate in a fortnightly session where they discuss and share ideas on the books they read in the prior weeks

A forum is usually for two to three months. Participants are evaluated on the basis of these sessions. A forum usually lasts for two to three months. At the end of each forum, participants who do well are rewarded.

Readers’ forum increases the depth of knowledge and encourages the members to read books.

Mobile library An innovative concept of gonokendro is its mobile library, which targets adults, especially women, who are unable to take direct advantage of library services of the gonokendros for a number of reasons (distance, lack of mobility or time, etc). Women and elderly people of the community, qualified but unemployed girls, out-of-school children or people with disabilities are the members of mobile libraries. The mobile library is managed by a librarian or a part-time assistant librarian (usually a woman) who carries about 80-100 books (in a trunk) to the doorsteps of rural households by a rickshaw or a van once or twice a week.

IT in gonokendros To connect remote communities with the world outside, gonokendros are equipped with internet connection, on a pilot basis. People of these communities enjoy better access to information. Students and teachers are entitled to free internet service in these gonokendros, but other users have to pay BDT 10 per hour.

Multimedia presentations Gonokendros arrange multimedia presentations for rural people on various social issues. Arranged in public places, these events draw nearly 80 to 200 people. The advantage of multimedia presentations is that illiterate people can participate in it too.

Television In 2011, televisions were delivered in 500 gonokendros. This service has increased the hours these gonokendros stay open. It attracts a new group of user (mostly people who cannot read or write). For this extra time, the committee members take responsibility to run the centres. Gonokendros have become an information hub for the rural, disadvantaged people, especially girls and women.

Skill development training To improve the socioeconomic conditions of rural communities, gonokendros arrange skill development training for the youth in collaboration with the Directorate of Youth under the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

The training centres of the directorate offer both long and short courses on different trades, for example electrical works and electronics, poultry rearing, livestock, agricultural nurseries, fisheries, tailoring, and modern office management.

The rationale behind engaging the youth in such training is to involve them in income-earning activities and create employment.

Sociocultural activities In rural communities, people lack scope and space to spend leisure time or to socialise; they also do not have access to entertaining events. Gonokendros, thus organise different kinds of sociocultural activities and ensure the participation of community members.

The activities include drawing, essay writing and recitation competitions, preparing wall magazines, publishing annual magazines and calendars, performing skits and drama, celebrating patriotic holidays, international days, organising rallies and discussion sessions, arranging different fairs, exhibitions (book exhibition, IT fair) and eye camps, blood donations and medical camp for general diagnosis. The youth committee of the gonokendros usually assists in arranging these events. Such events also reinforce local cultural heritage and communal identity.

Youth committee To support the trustee board, every gonokendro has a youth committee which is formed with the youth of the community with 30-50 per cent women. They help to mobilise fund for the gonokendro as well as organising different sociocultural activities. This youth committee also collects seasonal crop from the community to increase the fund of a gonokendro. The participation of young girls and women in this process creates awareness among community members regarding the roles of girls and women as integral part of community development.

Children’s corners Children’s corners have 100 to 150 books; children use this space to read, borrow books and play games.

There is an opportunity for children to engage in cultural activities and art competitions. The librarian attends to the children and holds  storytelling sessions once a week.

Micro-museum Gonokendros have a separate shelf dedicated to collecting local and historical items for display. This inclusion, called micro-museum, is in the pilot phase and contains mementos of local martyrs who died in the liberation war, old copper utensils which are not used anymore , old currencies and miniatures of different kinds of everyday items such as the dheki, palki and plough. Such museums give visitors an idea of the local heritage.

Kirtiman Some gonokendros now keep digital festoons illustrating life and work of local and famous literary personalities. These festoons are displayed on occasions of their birth and death anniversary, – usually two months before the date. On the date of the anniversary, cultural events, discussion sessions and competitions are held focusing on their work.

BASE BRAC’s activity for social empowerment (BASE) is a recent inclusion in the gonokendros. To encourage more people to read books, 148 centres have been established so far in a spare room provided by the communities as pilot.

Local youth conduct activities which include distribution and recollection of books , awareness raising, and record keeping, etc. Each centre starts with 100 books and are replaced by 100 new books at the end of the month.

Local resource person (LRP) Participation and ownership feeling of community people is necessary for gonokendros to sustain. . From 2011, gonokendros started to recruit LRP from the community - people with interest and commitment to bring local development. They are trained to deliver particular services and conduct some activities in their communities. LRPs are responsible for arranging orientations for the committee members, organising cultural programmes and competitions for children on various occasions, establishing new gonokendro, mobilising fund for the gonokendro, increasing number of readers and members, increasing community participation in MCLC activities, etc. Being local, the LRPs can better understand the community’s characteristics and deliver the services accordingly. They are not BRAC’s permanent staff; they are working with BRAC as part-time staff.

 

Quick facts
2,910 libraries (gonokendros)
1.27 million members of gonokenros
61,143 members of 880 mobile libraries
2,910 librarians
1,365 gonokendros with IT facilities
2,756child corners
103,140youth members receiving training, of whom 57.95 per cent are girls
356 sub-districts in 60 districts have been reached

 

 

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