Chhatrabandhu, a Bengali word which means ‘friend of students’, are individuals who volunteer to provide free after-school tuitions to underprivileged students. Their support considerably improves students’ performances in school as well as during public board exams. Chatrabandhu promotes volunteerism among the young people of a community.
Objectives of chhatrabandhu:
- To improve attendance of underprivileged students in secondary schools and reduce the dropout rate
- To improve academic performance
- To encourage and involve people in volunteerism
- To make students and parents aware about the importance of education
Who are chhatrabandhus?
Retired educated persons
- Local educated youth- students of college or universities
- Educated housewives
- Graduate mentors and medhabikash students
- Teachers of schools or colleges and
Who are the students?
The selection criteria for the students requires
- Children of disadvantaged background
- Disadvantaged children who have graduated from BRAC primary schools
How it works?
Staff makes a list of underprivileged students from non--government secondary schools for chhatrabandhu aid by consulting with the teachers. Once a list has been created with all potential students, BRAC conducts a door-to-door survey to see who will eventually be in the final selection according to the selection criteria. With the help of local people, school teachers and students BRAC’s staff then makes a list of possible chhatrabandhus who reside close to the selected students. Interested volunteers join according to his or her willingness to spare their time. After selection of chhatrabandhus, BRAC trains them on subjects, especially in English and mathematics for the curriculum of classes 6 to 8. Once training is completed, the chhatrabandhu is paired with a student. Usually one chhatrabandhu provides support to one to two students. Typically in a school, 25-30 chhatrabandhus support 45-50 students.
Motivational incentives for chhatrabandhus:
- Appreciation certificate for at least two consecutive years’ service
- Yearly gathering ceremony
- Yearly publication of Shurid magazine publishing their writing
- Subject-based supplementary materials on textbooks
- Yearly diary
- Support to participate in different skills training activities - youth training of using BRAC’s multi-purpose youth learning centres, or gonokendro, computer training, BRAC driving school, etc.
Currently this activity is running in 1,400 non-government secondary schools of 151 sub-districts in 55 districts. As of September 2015,42,806 chhatrabandhus (52 per cent girls) are providing support to 66,937 students (58 per cent girls) in the rural schools of Bangladesh.
In 2014, the pass rate of chhatrabandhu-supported students at the JSC examinations was 96 per cent.