As one of the most densely populated countries in the world, Bangladesh has long struggled to accommodate its growing population. With only half of Bangladeshi children receiving an education, Volunteers Association for Bangladesh (VAB) has set out to improve access to education, especially in the rural parts of the country.
Around 3 out of 4 Bangladeshis live in rural villages, making it difficult to access schools. More often than not, these areas lack adequate infrastructure, funding and teachers, hindering children’s ability in receiving quality education. VAB is currently working on providing scholarships and tutors to students, in addition to training teachers.
VAB mainly focuses on high schools, where the future remains bleak in rural Bangladesh. There tends to be a very high dropout rate that many attribute to the alarmingly high rates of poverty. Many students cannot afford to go to school and do not receive any stipends when they do. In addition, there is poor subject knowledge and insufficient teaching methods among school staff, creating a difficult learning environment for Bangladeshi students. In addition, the staff has limited equipment to use in their classrooms. Since there is very little spent on education in Bangladesh, high schools in rural areas often lack computer labs, necessary textbooks and enough classroom space.
In 2010, VAB developed a five-year plan to move forward. One of their main goals is to decrease dropout rates and keep classroom sizes much smaller than the average of 60 students that classrooms have now. The strategy also focuses significantly on school faculty involvement, with the hopes that teachers can identify improvement projects and help implement them.
Given that the most important resource of any country is its people, Bangladesh has invested more in education. The country’s national budget has also allocated more funds towards educational programs, as well as to make it more accessible to a larger segment of the population. These efforts have shown improvements, and the Bangladesh education system is markedly better than it was a few years ago. The Bangladesh education board has also taken steps to improve teaching practices, which will hopefully provide students with a brighter future.
– Leeda Jewayni
Sources: Volunteers Association for Bangladesh