Activities of DPE
Steps Taken to Increase Enrolment and Reduce Dropout Rates since 1991
Extensive Programmes were taken up in the Primary education Sub-sector to brig all eligible children to school, get them to complete the Primary education cycle and provide them a quality education. Some of these programmes are listed below:
- Satellite schools were established to bring the schools nearer to the door steps of the children who cannot travel to the main school. A total of 194 schools were established experimentally under the General Education Project. Then another 5,000 schools were set up by 2001. Satellite schools are managed by voluntary female teachers selected locally Through the School Management Committee. Students after completing Class II from these schools are admitted to the mother Government. The rate of attendance of the students in such schools is almost 100%.
- The Government has established less expensive community schools in the areas with no school. School buildings are constructed on the land donated by the local people and necessary facilities are provided by the government. Allowances which partially meet teacher's salary are paid by the Government.
- A total of 19,428 registered non-government Primary schools are being managed through the participation of the local people. Up to June1994, the teachers of RNGPS were given subvention at the rate of TK.500/- per month. In July 1994 they were brought under National pay scale and since then they have been paid at the rate of 50%, 60% and 70% of the basic pay of the teachers of GPS depending on total service lengths. For services of less than two years they were given 50%, for service more than two years but less than five years they were given 60% and for services of more than 5 years, they were were given 70% of the basic pay of GPS teachers. These rates were enhanced to 70%,80% and 90% respectively in July 1998.
- Children less than 6 years of age are also going to primary schools in large numbers. It has been decided in principle in 1994 to introduce pre-primary classes to motivate and orient the younger children . It may be mentioned that the kudrat-E-Khuda education commission recommended the introduction of a pre-primary class. In the education policy of 2000,, there is also a recommendation like this.
- Government financed Food for Education Programme was introduced in 1993 to compensate opportunity cost of poor parents for sending their children to school. This helped increase the enrolment and attendance in schools and prevent child labour. About 27% area of the country covering about 2.2million disadvantaged students were under "Food for Education Programme."From the financial year 2002-2003a special programme for providing cash to poor primary school children has been launched by transforming Food for Education Programme into stipend programme. Under this programme, parents of poor students of the primary schools in the rural areas will be given monthly stipend at the rate of tK.100 per month for sending one child to school and TK.125 for sending more than one child . Beneficiaries under this programme will be 5.5 million (estimate). Every year a sum of US$ 115 million will be required for this innovative programme.
- The School Attractiveness Programme was started in 10 Upazilas of 5 Divisions in the country under the General Education Project (1991-96). The programme aimed aft motivating students to go to school regularly and making the schools student-friendly. The number of schools under this programme was 689. The programme was introduced experimentally through NGOs and School Management Committees. A feature of theis programme was to provide poor students, particularly girls, with educational materials, school uniforms, sports equipments and occasionally nutritive food . The incentive was given on the basis of attendance and performance. The main strategy of this programme was to initiate community participation. About 4,00,000 children were benefited under these programme. The rates of enrolment and attendance in this schools increased. The rate of dropouts decreased remarkably in the project areas.
- A total of 3,138 non-formal education centers for primary school age children were established by giving financial grants to the NGOs . The aim was to bring out of school and dropout students back under the fold of educational system. under thes programme 17 NGOs imparted primary education to 4,97,358 children. The participation of NGOs in the government programme and in the field of primary education, though on a small scale, enabled NGOs to acquire meaningful experience.
- As a part of social mobilization, a logo portraying a primary school aged boy and a girl was inaugurated by the Honourable Prime Minister on 24th February 1992.
- Cub Scouts network is being formed in the primary schools for developing discipline, honesty, charity, and respect for lab our among the students. At least one teacher from each school is being given necessary training to implement the scout movement.
- The mass media like Radio, Television, newspapers are being utilized to involve the community in the management of the schools and make he guardians aware about the importance of primary education. As a result, awareness of the guardians to send their children to school is increasing.
- Primary education Fortnight is observed in all the primary schools of the country to socialize the movement for primary education. The strategy to distribute textbooks in a function organized during the fortnight is to bring the primary education movement into social focus. The functions inspire people to participate in government efforts. The functions also provide opportunity for communities, teachers, guardians and officials to exchange opinions on different school activities. The school thus becomes an integral part of the community. Primary education week is also observed throughout the country to make the community aware about the importance of education.
Curriculum of Primary Education and Development of Textbooks
The school curriculum of a nation is prepared with an eye to the needs of society and attainment of international standards. Hopefully the revised primary curriculum reflects these needs. Syllabuses and textbooks were written in the light of competency-based curriculum. The contexts in the textbooks for primary schools include health, nutrition, population, environment, life-oriented technologies suitable for the 21st century. It is expected that the present curriculum relevant and rational, textbooks were revised in 2001. New textbooks were written for students of level I and II. These books have already been handed over to students in the beginning of 2003.
National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) is responsible for the development of primary education curriculum. Improvement and renewal of curriculum at primary level is also taken by this organization as and when required.
The NCTB undertook a programme called the Quality-Based Curriculum Implementation and Inspection in primary schools to supervise the implementation of the newly introduced curriculum. There are two aspects of this programme: firstly, the observation of classroom teaching style on textbooks written in the light of competency-based curriculum and secondly, collection of the data related to the achievement of competency through testing based on Multiple Ways of Teaching and Learning in five selected districts. In the programme area primary students learn in multiple ways by obsessing, listening, or doing something like singing or rhyme exercises. It has been found through research that here are seven types of intelligence in human beings. Strong and weak intelligences of the children can be identified through their behaviors and styles of learning. This programme aims at making the students' learning processes easy, delightful and attractive through the practice of multiple activities in the classrooms. The Directorate of primary Education has expanded this programme under help improve teaching learning environment to a desired level.
NCTB organized a national workshop to modify the rules of spelling in Ballad. On the recommendation of the workshop rules of Bangla spelling were newly formulated to revised, and are being followed in the primary school textbooks. Besides, the Shishu (Children's) Academy, Madrasha Education Board and other organizations are following these rules of Bangla language spelling. Supplementary reading materials have also been developed for primary schools by the NCTB. Under a project, a sample National Assessment of Grade 3 and 5 student's achievement in four subject areas was completed. The study showed the trend of students' achievement to be quile low.
Improvement in the Quality of Primary Education
While the quantitative aspect of primary education has achieved considerable success, the qualitative aspect of primary duration is year to improve to the expected level. Teachers still use traditional methods, which are not appropriated for implementing the new curriculum. Primary schools and classes are not attractive to the students. As a result, they remain absent. Inadequate contact hour and crowded classes also affect the quality of teaching. There is also lack of proper supervision and accountability. A number of measures have been taken to improve the qualitative situation:
- Teachers, trainers, supervisory officials are being trained regularly on the professional knowledge including pedagogy. The professionals associated with primary education in different capacities get the opportunities through training and orientation to update their knowledge about the national and international concepts on management, planning, curriculum, teaching methods and techniques, examinations and evolution of primary education.
- The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MOPME) has the responsibility to continuing the process of improving quality of primary education, ensuring supply of skilled manpower suitable for present trends, arranging training for the teachers, managers and supervisors at home and abroad, and arranging workshops, seminars, conferences and study tours. MOPME and the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) regularly organize programmes for field level officials to involve them in the activities of different projects. Members of the community involved at the grassroots level (School Management Committee, Parent Teacher Association, Ward committee, Upazila Education Committee) are also given orientations regularly in order to make them aware about their tasks as well as the efforts of the Government.
- The Training Division of the Directorate of Primary Education assesses the training needs at national and field levels and is engaged in preparing and implementing training programmes. National Academy for Primary Education (NAPE), Upazila Resource Centres (URC) and the PTIs arrange the training of staff and teachers and conduct various professional training activities. Besides, training leaflets are used once in two months by the Assistant Upazila Education Officers to conduct continuous in service training for the teachers at sub-cluster levels. The training of teachers at the sub-cluster level has resulted in continuing improvement in the class-room teaching and in increasing participation of the community in school activities. It has been decided to reinforce training programmes at sub-cluster levels. A programme was initiated under Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP), with assistance from Asian Development Bank, Norwegian Government (NORAD) and UNICEF to continue this in-service training of teachers. A good number of modules have been developed to make sub-cluster training more effective.
- About 1,73,000 persons (teachers, teacher-trainers, officials and supervisors) were given training on competency-based curriculum. In Bangladesh there are 54 government and 1 non-government Primary Training Institutes (PTIs) to offer Certificate-in Education course to the primary school teachers. These institutes can train 10,500 teachers a year. Most of the teachers in the government schools have received C-in-Ed course. In order to make maximum utilization of the PTIs, teachers of registered non-government primary schools and community schools were brought under the training programme. In this regard, arrangements have been made to train 87,500 teachers of non-government schools and so far nearly 74,000 received training. Necessary steps were taken to increase the skills of PTI Instructors by exposing them to the recent trends in primary education. The C-in-Ed curriculum were revised and updated.
- One government primary schools in every Upazila has been converted into a model school. All resources are being mobilized to build up the school as an ideal primary school. 481 schools have been selected as Model Schools, This initiatives is likely to inspire other primary school to follow these model schools. which can be followed by the other schools.
- An extensive plan has been undertaken to develop the libraries of the Directorate of Primary Education, National Academy for Primary Education, and the PTIs. Already a scheme has been undertaken to build up a library in each of the Model Schools. In the project funded by NORAD, there is allocation of substantial funds for improving the libraries. In addition, supplementary reading materials are being provided to schools to enrich the school library.
- To enhance the quality op primary education, a number of projects have been undertaken. These projects include programmes to improve the infrastructure of training facilities, teaching methods and supervision. Intensive District Approach to Education for All (IDEAL) has focused mainly on improving quality by introducing innovative teaching techniques, improving management and monitoring at the field level and by reducing disparities at different areas and at different level. IDEAL has initiated an innovative teaching method called "Multiple Ways of Teaching and Learning (MWTL)" based on 'Multiple Intelligence' theory. This programme has already created considerable enthusiasn among the teachers & the parents as the learning became attractive to the children. Under IDEAL project micro-level planning exercise has been taken up involving the SMC, PTA, Teachers, students and mothers. On an experimental basis DPE is also implementing 'Concentrated Language Encounter (CLE)' approach to improve language teaching. DFID assisted "Effective Schools Through Enhanced Education Management" is also contributing significantly to improve management capacity at all levels and thus to make the schools effective.
- The National Academy for Primary Education is making consistent efforts to enhance the quality of primary education. The activities of the Academy include:
- Training of the Superintendents and Instructors of the PTIs;
- Training of the AUEOs, UEOs, DPEOs and other field officers;
- Development of Certificate-in-Education course that includes revision of C-in-Ed. Curriculum and Modules;
- Post-training monitoring, follow up and feedback with a view to improving the standard of training;
- Training courses in administration and management for the newly appointed officers;
- To undertake action research;
- The Academy is being upgraded and to make it a centre of excellence for studies and research at primary level;
Elimination of Gender Disparity
To eliminate gender disparity and ensure wide participation of women in development activities, 60% posts of teachers have been reserved for female teachers. In the satellite schools, 100% of the teachers are female. Steps have also been taken so that discriminatory concepts about males and females are eliminated from the curriculum.
The policy to appoint more women as officials at various levels of the management of primary education has been implemented. Opportunities of admission and relation of girls in schools are being created, separate latrines are constructed for girls. To encourage more women to join schools as teachers, steps have been taken to enlarge the residential capacity of the women's hostels at the PTIs. While students are enrolled the names of both mother and father are being registered. For payment of stipend money provision has been made to open the bank account in mother's name. It will have a positive impact on empowerment of women. These steps have contributed to the increase of girl enrolment. Ratio of boys and girls in schools is now 51:49.
For the successful implementation of any kind of educational programme, reinforcement of inspection and academic supervision in necessary. In order to perform this inspection properly the following steps have been taken:
Monitoring the School administration.
Fixing target of inspection; offering awards to the inspecting officers.
Taking necessary follow-up, actions for implementation of recommendations made during inspection.
Ensuring the regular attendance of the students and teachers in schools are reducing dropout through regular supervision and inspection.
Active public support is one of the major means of implementing any social programs. Public support is a very important factor in achieving wide publicity and awareness about primary education. To enlist participations of the people, the following schemes have been undertaken:
School Management Committees have been constituted to conduct smooth management of the schools. The terms and responsibilities of these committees have been clearly outlined. Besides, Parent-Teachers Associations have been constituted with the participation with the teachers and parents. In order to mobilization people for the implementation of compulsory primary education, 13,380 ward committees, 4450 union committees, 481 thana education committees and 64 district education committees have been constituted. These committees try to involve the people with the management of the primary education. The local management committees have powers to appoint teachers in the satellite and community schools.
In 17 selected districts of the country, a project named Incentive District Approach to Education for All (known as IDEAL project) has been initiated. Plans and programs had been under taken locally to achieve large scale improvement on the standard education through the coordinated efforts of the management committees, teachers, students, and guardians. This programme will be gradually expanded to every part of the country. This program has created considerable interest in the community for participating in the development of the schools. At present committees have authority to undertake small scale repairs of schools.
Every alternate year a survey is under taken to enumerate the children eligible for going to schools within the school catchment area. The primary schools teachers conduct the survey. Steps are taken to bring enlisted school going age children to schools. With the concerted efforts to teachers, trainers, supervisors, officers, School Management Committees, Ward Committees, education organizers, persons interested in education, and officers of the line departments other than education, the primary education programme is accelerating day by day.
Primary Education Fortnight
As a part of the programme to socialize the movement for universal primary education, Primary Education Fortnight is observed throughout the country to highlight the activities, and to ensure people's participation in primary education programmes as suplementary to the efforts of Government. The activities of the programme are:
Evaluation of last year's programme and drawing up of the programme for the coming year.
TV and Media coverage
Circulation of posters
Meeting and ralies at school, thana district and national levels.
These programmes also include cultural events, award-giving ceremony, distribution of free books and many other events. This programme helps the community to realize that school is a social institution and everybody has a responsibility for achieving better performance of the schools. These coordinated efforts create a suitable environment for teaching and learning.