The child with his nose in a book might not be the only one learning. This was one of the bold messages from the Frugal Innovation Forum 2017. The forum’s innovators and speakers called attention to children’s right to education and play.
Innovation and technology are seen as the solutions to the educational deprivation of millions of children in the developing world. How does the technology-based model of innovation relate to the real world of learners, teachers, schools, families and the communities that we live in?
When you think of play, an all too familiar sense of nostalgia usually follows. However, did you know the art that you painted with your fingers, the clay that you moulded or the block towers that you built with your imagination as a child, would determine your behaviour today?
A total of 47 Bangladeshi development organisations, edupreneurs, social innovators and accelerator programmes joined BRAC's social innovation lab for an intense 90-minute sprint, this September. We brainstormed on how our education system can work for our future, and how we can solve the existing roadblocks.
While the situation is the worst it has ever been, we are better equipped than we have ever been. This success can be credited to collaborative efforts by the government and civil society, which ensure shelter homes, pre-disaster preparedness, and early warning systems.
The Frugal Innovation Forum is a platform for leaders from the global south to connect and explore solutions to the world’s toughest challenges. Development practitioners, social entrepreneurs, activists, policy-makers and academics collaborate for three days to work towards impact at scale.
For several years now, we have seen Dhaka repeatedly ranked as one of the least livable cities in the world. One major factor is our transport system. A city of 20 million people, no metro system and an inadequate number of buses create a traffic nightmare. Those who depend on buses suffer the most: drivers pack people into buses, drive aggressively and stop haphazardly, sometimes in the middle of the street. It is almost impossible for women to get a ride during rush hours.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister this week launched the latest addition to the country’s digital curriculum to reach 20 million primary school students, continuing to revolutionise one of the most under-resourced education systems in South Asia.
According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 31, “every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities”. It is with the goal of ensuring this right that BRAC Institute of Educational Development (BIED) started piloting 50 play centres in both rural and urban areas of Bangladesh since June 2015. This large-scale project, which will be piloting play centre models for the next five years, will cater to children as young as six months, to up to five years of age.
In Bangladesh, there has been significant improvement in primary and secondary education. But the fact remains that as many as four million children remain out of school each year, mainly due to challenges of accessibility and affordability or being compelled to choose between earning and education.
Taking on the challenge of reaching out to children of families who face social exclusion, BRAC’s education programme has reached out to the children of sex workers. My visit to a school in Douladia showed me what it means to work with a group that is socially neglected.