31 May 2012, Dhaka. BRAC launched its operation in Philippines yesterday setting a lofty goal of bringing the light of education in the troubled region of Muslim Mindanao. This will be BRAC's 10th country where it has direct operation in place since the launch of its international programmes in 2002. At a ceremony held yesterday in Dhaka, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed launched the programme in the presence of senior representatives from Government of Bangladesh and Philippines, Development partner AusAid and BRAC.
Sir Fazle said, “What BRAC brings to the Philippines is not just an education delivery system but a vision of a just and fair society which is based on educating our children. It’s through this partnership of vision and action that can take the people forward. With the support of the Philippines Government and development partners, we are hopeful to make great progress with this challenging task at hand”.
Already operating in nine countries in South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, BRAC, the largest development organisation in the world, will operate at least 1,600 pre-primary and primary schools through its Education programme in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Philippines.
“BRAC is working in different parts of the world not only to alleviate poverty, but also as a peacemaker. It is a torchbearer in the dark of illiteracy, the dark of poverty”, said PS- I (Secretary) to the Honourable Prime Minister Government of Bangladesh, M. Nazrul Islam Khan in his speech at the launching event.
Public education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) faces a shortage of teachers. The drop-out rates for basic education are high, while the completion rate is low. These problems are particularly acute in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao, where there are as many school-age children and youth who have dropped out of school as those who are still in school.
With the participation of officials from the Department of Education of the Philippines, a series of workshops was conducted by BRAC in the country to develop the curriculum and instructional materials which will be used in the BRAC schools in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The curriculum will primarily utilise the Philippine’s standard proficiencies for pre- primary and elementary education, enhanced in the local cultural context, and delivered through the BRAC.
BRAC will manage and be responsible for programme implementation and will be working in conjunction with the Department of Education - Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Local partner NGOs will also be involved in operating the schools. Evaluation has been integrated in the project to asses result and impact which will be conducted by SEARCA and BRAC.
“We face extraordinary challenges in the ARMM and the BRAC model would allow us to become more effective in responding to the unique and difficult conditions that we face there. We also hope that we can also bring the BRAC approach to other parts of the country, where extraordinary and challenging conditions prevail”, said Francisco M. Varela, Under Secretary of Department of Education, Philippines, at the launching event of BRAC's education programme in ARMM in the Philippines.
Under Secretary of Department of Education Philippines Francisco M. Varela, PS- I (Secretary) to the Honourable Prime Minister Government of Bangladesh M. Nazrul Islam Khan, Justin Lee, Australia’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh, AusAid Bangladesh Head of Mission Mark Bailey, H.E. Bahnarim Abu Guinomla Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Assistant Secretary of Programmes Department of Education in Philippine Maisara Dandamun- Latiph, AusAID Counsellor, Philippine Elaine Ward, Management Consultant of BRAC Philippine Ramon C. Bobier, Executive Director of BRAC Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Director of BRAC Education Progarmme Dr. Safiqul Islam, Director of BRAC Strategy and Communications Asif Saleh and high officials of government and BRAC were present at the launching event.
With its innovative and cost effective approach to education BRAC now runs the largest secular private school system in the world in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uganda and South Sudan.