BRAC is a development organization in Bangladesh seeking to alleviate the lives of the country’s poor by empowering them through various efforts including disaster management, community empowerment, support programs, and education.
Overtime, Bangladesh has made major improvements in its education system. The literacy rate in Bangladesh is 83 percent for youth and 61 percent for adults. However, there is still work to be done. It is estimated that 1,300,000 primary school-age children do not have access to education in Bangladesh. Additionally, the rate of student school drop-out is still very high and the student to teacher ratio can be as high as 51:1. However, BRAC is taking steps to improve the education in Bangladesh.
With innovating teaching methods, BRAC provides children of poverty – who have been left out of the traditional education system – an education comparable with that of the mainstream school system. Education is one of the keys to fighting poverty, as upcoming generations will have more opportunities can change the course of their lives.
BRAC’s program on education in Bangladesh has four major practice areas: non-formal primary education, pre-primary schools, adolescent development program and multi-purpose community learning centers. These different practice areas reach not only children but also young adults and older members of communities.
The non-formal primary education initiative is a three-year program that aims to help kids aged eight to ten who have dropped out or never been enrolled in school. This program now has over 22,000 schools and over 681,000 students. The recent pass rate of BRAC’s pre-school graduates on the Primary School Certificate is 99.99 percent, and its students perform outstandingly on the exam, compared to national numbers.
Schools lead by BRAC not only provide a traditional education but also vocational skills, health awareness classes and financial services. Additionally, the schools provide safe places for children to play and participate in community activities, fostering community growth. The education program additionally brings mobile libraries to developing communities, which promotes reading and allows the members of the community to have access to computers and the internet.
The education program “has evolved organically, following a ‘life cycle’ approach with capacity and potentials to empower communities through livelihood improvement, citizenship development and poverty alleviation” according to BRAC.
As members of developing communities have better access to the tools they need to survive, like education, they have a better chance of thriving and building a successful life. By bringing education to poor communities in Bangladesh, BRAC is taking significant steps in order to fight global poverty. Its extensive education program will soon help children in many more poor countries, as the organization brings its schools around the globe. Improving education in Bangladesh will ultimately set an example of what needs to be done in other poor countries and communities.
– Julia Arredondo