Children's play-based and experiential learning through floating boats now in Chandpur. Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni inaugurated BRAC’s boat school on Friday, 27 January 2023 at Al-Amin Academy School and College in the city on the riverside.
At her speech as Chief Guest, Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni said "Science and mathematics are very interesting subjects, they can be learned with great pleasure if we teach them with fun. If we don't, even the simplest subjects can become difficult. BRAC, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, has transformed many boats into boat schools, using accessible materials such as pictures, animations, games to teach children of hard-to-reach areas science and mathematics. At the same time, children are learning the value of being humane, empathetic from the young age.
The basic philosophy of our new curriculum emphasises on the same. Children will not be afraid of examinations and will become persons with empathy and values. I believe our government's effort and BRAC's effort complement each other, which will take it further."
Safi Rahman Khan, Director, Education, Skills Development, and Migration, Profulla Chandra Barman, Programme Head, Education Programme along with BRAC head office and field staff were present at the programme.
Thematically designed around values, mathematics and science to celebrate the golden jubilee of BRAC, the three boats started their journey in September 2022 from the northeastern district of Sunamganj and will travel down to the coastal area of Bhola. The boats are making stopovers en route so that a wide range of children, students, teachers and people from the community can visit, and experience the travelling exhibits along with different activities. The duration of the stopovers are for 7-10 days, everyday from 10am-4pm. The boats draw volunteer teachers from the local communities to guide visitors. Special ramps have been designed for children with disabilities.
The educational activities and materials have been particularly designed for primary school children, although older students and visitors will also be able to experience the joy of learning. The visitors will be offered activities and contents on values, while maths and science subjects are designed with puzzles, hands-on experiments, problem solving with fun activities and games, and posters with short bios of great scientists and mathematicians.
The Values Boat was inspired by the philosophy of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, who ensured that along with regular academic subjects, values education and performing fine arts were incorporated in BRAC schools.
All the boats are covered under CCTV surveillance and strictly follow BRAC’s safeguarding policies along with the health, safety and security guidelines.
BRAC introduced the concept of boat schools in the wetlands (haor regions) of north-eastern Bangladesh in 2011. The idea was to bring the classroom to the children who were disconnected from schools due to their homes being surrounded by water for most of the year. The Boat School project was selected as a “100 Global Inspiring Innovations of 2017” by HundrED, a Finnish global education non-profit organisation.