SDG Goal 4 in BangladeshThe United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of objectives designed for all countries to fulfill to provide everyone with a more sustainable future. In 2015, members of the UN General Assembly enacted these 17 SDGs to reduce poverty, eradicate widespread hunger, and address other global challenges. Following the plan’s yearly list in a timely fashion, the SDGs aim to bring about a more prosperous life in developing countries by 2030. Bangladesh has found some success in meeting these goals; recently, individuals and government organizations are working to accomplish SDG Goal 4. This goal aims to ensure equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Since 2015, Bangladesh is one of the many countries that have made remarkable improvements in reducing poverty, which meets SDG Goal 1. For instance, in 2018, only three years after implementing the SGDs, the proportion of the population living below the international poverty line decreased by 8.3% relative to 2010. Similarly, the percentage of the population living below the domestic poverty line decreased by 9.9% from 2010 to 2018.

This decrease in poverty is a marked improvement. However, Bangladesh still faces many challenges in establishing an adequate educational system. To tackle such an expansive issue, the government has set multiple targets in its aim to achieve SDG Goal 4 in Bangladesh.

Here are five accomplishments in the Bangladeshi effort to provide a more inclusive education system:

Established Various Education Expansion Programs

The Bangladeshi government has launched various projects with help from organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). These projects were created to address specific issues and build upon successes of the Bangladeshi education system to accomplish SDG Goal 4. For instance, Bangladesh boasts a 99% child enrollment rate and a steadily growing 73% literacy rate. However, participation in secondary and higher education is lacking in Bangladesh; the International Labor Organization recently noted that 27% of youths aged 15 to 27 were not engaged in any form of education, employment or training.

Projects such as the Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP) and Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project (SEQAEP) aim to increase the participation of Bangladeshi youths in the educational system. Additional projects include the Secondary Education Sector Investment Program (SESIP) and Generation Breakthrough and Teaching Quality Improvement (TQI). These projects will attempt to overcome the barriers to education and reduce inefficiencies in the system. This includes improving school infrastructure, increasing transportation options and eliminating redundant standardized testing.

Expanded Education in Rural Areas

Education in rural Bangladesh is especially troubling. Many regions lack access to primary schooling, leaving little opportunity for people to grow professionally. To increase overall participation, the Bangladeshi government expanded access to preprimary and primary schooling, specifically in rural areas. Over the past few decades, the government has built thousands of schools and improved infrastructure in rural areas. Rural education still remains an area of concern in Bangladesh. The various projects mentioned above aim to ensure consistent growth in rural education so as to ensure the attainment of SDG goal 4 in Bangladesh.

Increased Enrollment Rates

Due to primary education’s expanded opportunities, enrollment rates have risen dramatically in recent years. According to the United Nations Development Programme, the overall school enrolment rate stood over 90% by 2015. As a result, literacy rates are constantly improving and are now at 73%. The demographics of students also diversified as more females have been given a chance to partake in formal schooling.

Textbook Celebration Day

A holiday called the Textbook Celebration Day occurs annually on January 1 to promote better education in Bangladesh. As implied by the name, the festival provides students all across the country with free textbooks. Students from preprimary to secondary level are all eligible to receive books written in Bengali and various ethnic languages, including Chakma, Marma, Sadri, Tripura and Garo. In 2019, there were over 35,21,97,882 textbooks distributed among 4,26,19,865 primary and secondary level students.

Bangladesh Bhavan

The Bangladeshi Ministry of Education established Bangladesh Bhavan, a center for people who want to engage in cultural education. The two-story building includes various amenities such as a 450 capacity auditorium, museum and library. It also has a research center, two seminar halls and a cafeteria. Moreover, the center is located in India, which according to both countries’ prime ministers expresses the two countries’ harmonious ties.

Although Bangladesh was once severely lacking adequate education systems, the implementation of SDG 4 has drastically improved their situation. Bangladesh has not only built more schools but also increased material distribution and cultural education. Additionally, the government has worked to address the gender imbalance among students. With continuous efforts from the Bangladeshi government and outside organizations, education in Bangladesh will inevitably flourish.

– Heather Law
Photo: Flickr