FEATURE STORY July 8, 2019

A Second Chance to Education

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Bangladesh has achieved near universal access to primary education and gender equity at the primary and secondary school enrollments. Yet, many school-aged children, from the poorest families, either do not enroll in or discontinue school, due to poverty. Following the Government’s vision of ‘education for all,’ the Reaching Out-of-School Children (ROSC) II project, provides a second-chance education to out-of-school children in targeted rural upazilas (sub-districts) and urban slums. The project builds upon the experiences of both public schools and NGO education, blending formal education with non-formal means of delivery for young learners. It gives them an opportunity to complete grade five and transition to secondary school and provides pre-vocational skills training to youth who have dropped out.

Challenge

In 2010, nearly 5.6 million children aged 6 to13 were out of school in Bangladesh. These children missed out schooling at the “right age” or were forced to drop out, mainly for poverty. Many of them could not afford uniforms, books, or transportation  to go to school, or had to earn a living for the family. These children were deprived of education, which reduces their chances of finding higher-paid jobs that could lift them and their families out of poverty. 

Approach

ROSC II allows the poorest children, who otherwise may miss education, to study in learning centres, called Ananda Schools (‘schools of joy'). These schools provide stipends to eligible children to ease the burden on their families, and provides free books, stationeries and uniforms. The Ananda schools are established in upazilas with high poverty and low enrolment and completion rates. 

Ananda Schools are different from normal primary schools: here, the students are older (between 8- to 14-year olds); school timing is flexible; and  a single class teacher teaches the students until they are ready for the Grade 5 examination, allowing the poor children to join the secondary schools. The local communities establish, own and manage Ananda Schools with support from the government and the local NGOs. The Centre Management Committees (CMC) are accountable to parents and students, and the ROSC Unit (ROSCU), the Directorate of Primary Education. Since January 2017, ROSC-II has been expanded to cover the poorest children in slums in 11 City Corporations. It pilots a Pre-Vocational Skills Training program, for adolescents who have completed at least grade 3 but are aged 15 and above and not enrolled in regular schools. They receive allowance and tuition vouchers to participate in market-responsive skills training programs. With technical assistance from Save the Children, ROSC II deploys service providers (NGOs) to provide training—in selected trades and enterprise development—who establish industry linkage with potential employers. 


"My daughter now goes to the Ananda School. I am happy, we the women, have a say in our children’s education. "
Nazma.
a proud mother

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Results in numbers

· 690,000 out-of-school children—half of them are girls—enrolled in 20,400 Ananda Schools in 148 most disadvantaged upazilas, covering about one- third of the country.
· 48,000 children enrolled in 1,600 Learning Centres in urban slum areas.
· 16,500 ROSC graduates received skills training for self-employment.
· 86% of the classes attended by students.
· Average grade retention rate of 70%.
· 80% of all ROSC schoolteachers are women and nearly 90% of all school management committee heads are women.
· 12,277 teachers received foundation training.
· 4,000 CMC members trained for the operation and management of LCs. 

Towards the Future

Built on the predecessor project, ROSC II covers additional 100 more upazilas and aims to bring 720,000 out-of-school children to school in 148 most disadvantaged remote upazilas. The project has rolled out four pilot programs—scaling up of second chance education for children from urban slums and pre-vocational skills training for older students, while evaluating pilot interventions targeting child domestic workers, and developing early reading habits for ROSC students. ROSC II will strengthen the internal monitoring capacity of the ROSCU through a revised field level management structure. Through an additional financing grant, ROSC II aims to help Bangladesh provide learning opportunities to Rohingya children and provide pre-vocational training to affected youth and adolescents. 

 


Basic Information

Approval date: October 2, 2012

End date: December 31, 2020

Total commitment: $155 million

Implementing agency: Ministry of Primary and Mass Education



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