DHAKA, April 20, 2011 – More than 37,000, disadvantaged students of Ananda Schools supported by the Reaching Out-of-School Children (ROSC) Project have passed the Primary Education Completion Examination in 2010. 103 meritorious students from Ananda School have been awarded scholarships for their outstanding achievements at the Grade 5 terminal examinations. A reception to recognize the academic excellence of these students, teachers and ROSC community members was organized today.
In addition to the Primary Education Development Programm – II, the Government of Bangladesh, with the support of the World Bank is implementing the ROSC project to bring disadvantaged children back to school. These are children who had never attended a regular school or had been forced to drop out, mainly because of poverty.
Chief Guest at the reception Honorable Minister Dr. Md. Afsarul Ameen, Ministry of Primary and Mass Education said, ‘Right after the Independence of Bangladesh, the then Government had placed utmost priority on economic development and education for the people of the country. The Kudrat-e-Khuda Education Commission of 1974 is an exemplary example. In line with that, the current Government, with the support of the World Bank, is also working towards ensuring education for all as part of their Vision 2021. Today’s event recognizes the success of this effort.’
ROSC provides second chance education to more than 750,000 out of school children in 22,000 Ananda Schools (Learning Centers). The project covers upazilas with high rates of poverty and low enrollment rates and has enabled meritorious children to pass the Grade 5 terminal examinations and transition to secondary education.
‘Against the odds, thirty-seven thousand disadvantaged children who were not regularly in school have now passed the Class V terminal exam at the Ananda Schools. A recent study shows that 70% of past Ananda School graduates have moved on to secondary school,’ said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh. ‘We have already seen how Bangladesh has become a role model in supporting girl’s education in South Asia. This initiative to reach out-of-school children is now being implemented in 90 of the poorest upazilas in Bangladesh, and can be expanded to bring all disadvantaged children back to school, enhancing the country's reputation as a leader on education policy in the region.'
The empowerment of women is a notable achievement of ROSC. Girls account for 50 percent of the total student enrolment and women account for 80 percent of Ananda school teachers and school management committee members. Another special feature of the ROSC approach is its attempt to promote community ownership and engagement in establishing and managing the Ananda Schools.
‘The Government aims to ensure 100% enrollment in primary education by 2011, education for all by 2015 and 100% literacy by 2017,’ said Honorable State Minister Mr. Md. Motahar Hossain, Ministry of Primary and Mass Education. ‘By targeting those children who would otherwise not be able to attend school, the ROSC initiative is greatly contributing to our vision to ensure education for all.’
The innovative ROSC project not only provides valuable lessons for Bangladesh but also for other countries where access to quality primary education continues to be a challenge.