The government of Bangladesh has taken various steps to provide primary education to all children of school going age, but due to poverty a significant number of children drop out of, or are never enrolled in, primary schools in the first place. A 2017 report of the Directorate of Primary Education showed that the dropout rate of primary school children that year was around 18.4 percent and the rate of children who never enrolled was around two percent. Based on those rates, it was estimated that there are around 2.8 million children aged 8-14 years throughout the country who were out of school.
Recently, the government launched a non-formal education program for about nine lakh children aged 8-14 years who have either dropped out of, or never gone to, school. Under the program, the Bureau of Non-Formal Education (BNFE) will set up more than 32,000 learning centres across the country. Each student in urban areas will get an education stipend of TK 300 per month and a rural student will get Tk 120 a month after their enrolment. The students will be enrolled under the "Out of School Children Program as Second Chance Education", one of the components of Primary Education Development Program (PEDP)-4.
Currently, BNFE is running a pilot programme through which one lakh students in six districts - Dhaka, Chattogram, Kishoreganj, Gaibandha, Sylhet and Sunamganj are getting education. Piloting will end by next year. The interventions are designed in an effort to overcome the barriers and challenges causing dropouts. Each learning centre will consist of one teacher and around 20-30 students. Each learner will be provided with one set of the school uniform and one school bag each year. At these centres, the course duration will be three and a half years -- six months each for grades 1, 2, and 3, and one year each for grade 4 and grade 5. After completing each grade, the students of grades 1 to 4 will appear in final exams; fifth graders will appear in the Primary Education Completion (PEC) exams.
Major activities of the project
- Identify children aged between 8-14 years who are dropped out and never enrolled in school.
- Establish 350 learning centers.
- Provide education to 10500 children and mainstream them into formal education system.
- Community mobilization to encourage parents to enroll their children.
5 Upazilas under Feni district