Education in every sense is one of the fundamental factors of development. No country can achieve sustainable socio-economic development without substantial investment in human capital. Education enriches people's understanding of themselves and world. It improves the quality of their lives and leads to broad social benefits to individuals and society. Education raises people's productivity and creativity, and promotes entrepreneurship and technological advances. In addition, it plays a very crucial role in securing economic and social progress and improving income distribution. But unfortunately, a major part of the total population in Bangladesh is still reeling under the curse of illiteracy. Considering the importance of education, Padakhep has been implementing several education programs both in urban and rural areas since 1995. The education program of Padakhep aims to provide and ensure quality education to the future generations which in turn will reduce poverty and ensure sustainable development.
Major objectives of the program are to:
Enhancing Resources and Increasing Capacities of Poor Households towards Elimination of their Poverty (ENRICH) program
The ENRICH program targets poor families, working with them to enhance and maximize the utilization of their resources and skills. ENRICH aims to alleviate poverty not only through income generation but through a holistic approach targeting other crucial aspects of human life including health, education, youth development, community development, etc, the goal being sustainable development driven by the people themselves. The overall goal of the program is to ensure human dignity and freedom by gradually reducing poverty in a sustainable manner towards total elimination at the household and community level in the unions, and ultimately, throughout the country. ENRICH encourages and assists them in changing to their economic status. Access to appropriate technology, health and education services are expected to ensure increase in productivity allowing them to optimize returns from market operations.
Padakhep has been implementing the program since 2010 in Surma union of Sadar upazila of Sunamgonj district with the financial assistance of PKSF. Overall goal of ENRICH is to increase household's socio-economic status and welfare in a sustainable way by increasing productivity, diversifying high value crops and promoting off-farm employment opportunity for the poor people. The program is extending multidimensional services with credit support, such as primary healthcare services, education & community development services, etc.
Education program of ENRICH is designed to enhance the ability and learning capacity of the primary level students of the poor and illiterate family of 21 unions. The program primarily seeks to address the problem of children dropping-out of primary level education. Under this program, one or more afternoon teaching centres are established in every member village. Class I and III students are tutored at these centres. The centres target students who find difficulty in keeping up with their classmates and need the extra help and time to grasp material taught at school. Anyone less than 40 years of age with a minimum of S.S.C level education is qualified to be a teacher; most of the teachers are female. These teachers are entrusted to enroll 20-30 students for each centre and find out the places of instruction. The teachers provide lessons for two hours every day to the students in each educational centre and help the students accomplish their home tasks. These teaching centres play a crucial role in the education program by monitoring whether or not young children are being sent to school regularly to keep the dropout rates at minimum level. While aim of the ENRICH program is to prevent drop-out and improve quality of education and objectives are to (a) empower the households participating in the program to work effectively to reduce their poverty on sustained basis. (b) enable them in the process to secure improved health, education, sanitation & nutritional status; (c) create a mechanism for them to work with relevant institutions and larger communities for effectively preparing for responses to natural disasters; (d) put in place a new and an effective method of GO-NGO collaboration for development.
Impacts of the education program