06 June 2008, Dhaka. BRAC strongly believes that it is the responsibility of the state to ensure quality primary education for all. BRAC does not believe in the privatization or commercialization of primary education. In response to recent reports and articles in the media regarding the pilot programme initiated jointly by the Government of Bangladesh and BRAC, we would like to clarify that the aim of the programme is to improve the standard of education at selected government and registered non-government primary schools. BRAC has not been given any control over the management of these schools.
The objectives of the pilot programme are to increase attendance, reduce high drop out rates, raise course completion rates to over 80% and improve overall quality of teaching and learning at government and registered non-government primary schools in 20 sub-districts of 9 districts. This will be done by providing teachers with skills training, making school management committees more active, organising periodic parent-teacher meetings as well as regular head-teacher-led discussion forums for all teachers. All activities under this programme will be carried out with the full involvement of the management and teachers of the schools. It may be mentioned that BRAC has, over the past three years, conducted an experimental programme to improve the capacity of government primary schools in 6 subdistricts of Sherpur district. In light of the significant experience gained through this programme, the current pilot programme is being undertaken.
In the 36 years that have passed since its inception in 1972, BRAC has established itself as one of the largest and most successful NGOs in the world. BRAC’s groundbreaking interventions in poverty alleviation and empowerment of the poor have been successful in bringing about significant changes in the socioeconomic landscape of Bangladesh and beyond.
BRAC’s education programme has played a significant role in supplementing and reinforcing the formal education system by creating access to schooling for disadvantaged children who have dropped out of or have never enrolled in formal schools. More than 1.2 million children are currently enrolled in the 37,500 BRAC primary schools across the country and over 3.8 million students have already graduated, over 90% of whom have moved on to formal schooling at the secondary level. In 2007, the pass rate of BRAC school students in the government conducted class 5 completion exam was over 95%.
We hope that the experience and knowledge gained from the aforementioned pilot programme will be helpful in improving the overall quality of education in Banlgadesh.