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FEATURE STORY

Bangladesh: Reaching Out-of-School Children

May 4, 2010

Education in Bangladesh Continues to Improve

May 4, 2010 - The World Bank has extended more support to the Reaching Out-of-School Children (ROSC) Project, which has helped enroll over 500,000 out-of-school children since 2004 through more than 15,000 Ananda Schools (Learning Centers) in 60 upazilas (districts) with high incidences of poverty and low enrollment.

Education in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has made tremendous progress towards increasing both primary and secondary school enrollment. This progress has been achieved in spite of high poverty and its vulnerability to natural calamities. The Government of Bangladesh has recognized that primary education is critical to reduce poverty. Public spending has continued to give priority to education. Total spending on education sector is about 2.2 percent of GDP.

Bangladesh has already achieved one of the key Millennium Development Goals (MDG) - gender parity in primary and secondary schooling. Bangladesh’s success in female secondary school education is now well established and the success has brought a revolution to women’s status in the society.

Ananda Schools

Ananda Schools formed under the World Bank assisted Reaching Out-of-School Children (ROSC) Project, gives disadvantaged children a second chance to continue their education. In 60 of the poorest upazilas of Bangladesh, some 500,000 children who had been forced to drop out of formal schooling have now enrolled at these alternative learning centers. These include children from ultra-poor families who can’t afford their education, children who had to drop out of school and start working to support their family and disadvantaged children living in remote poor areas of the country with limited access to education and opportunities.

Through the ROSC Project, Ananda Schools provide education stipends to these children and to lessen the burdens on their families, distribute free books, stationeries and school uniforms.

Achievements

  • High completion levels: More than 90 percent of students who enrolled in 2005 completed grade five in 2009.
  • Consistently high attendance: Ananda students attend, on average, 90 percent of school days.
  • Actively engaged communities: Community members are deeply involved in establishing and managing learning centers, with support from government and NGOs specializing in education.
  • A second chance for working children: About 50 specialized Shishu Kallyan Trust (Child Welfare Trust) schools with average enrollments of 100 pupils have been set up to test how to meet the needs of children forced out of the primary school system because of the need to earn income.
  • Comprehensive training: All teachers and key members of community committees have been fully trained on how to run their learning centers.
  • An entryway to secondary schooling: Early estimates show close to 60 percent of Learning Center graduates and 80 percent of Shishu Kallyan Trust graduates have moved on to formal secondary education.

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