Schools in Bangladesh reopen this week after the world’s longest shutdown. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, BRAC was providing education for almost 750,000 students. During the extended closure, it continued teaching remotely, and ensured that close to 620,000 students graduated from their courses. The remaining students continued learning remotely and, after planning for reopening for months, BRAC opened its doors to 129,000 students this week. Amidst dire predictions of learning loss globally, it is quietly optimistic that its innovative measures to continue learning, combined with a rigorous approach to remediation will get its students back on track.
Digital solutions allowed continued schooling during the pandemic, but students without access to the internet were at risk of being left behind. BRAC turned to an understated device for reaching the students in these communities: the feature phone.
Dr Safiqul Islam spent 30 years building BRAC’s education programme. He joined BRAC in 1987, as a spirited young patriot who wanted to change his country, and, through his work with BRAC and Bangladesh’s education sector, he did. Bangladesh’s education sector has undergone significant transformation during the last three decades, and Dr Islam was a driving force behind them. Dr Islam worked tirelessly to materialise Sir Fazle Hasan Abed’s vision of a world free of inequality, through inspiring education practitioners across the world to get education to every child.
Bangladesh has a remarkable primary education enrolment rate – 97.97%, but 18.85% of students drop out before completion. Drop-out rates are even higher in urban informal settlements, hard-to-reach areas, such as haor (wetlands) and char (riverine islands). BRAC is seeing significant improvements in drop-out rates through the implementation of its Bridge Schools initiative – specially-designed, accelerated programmes to bridge learning gaps and support children to complete primary education
Bangladesh is home to over 50 indigenous groups. They speak over 35 languages and comprise over 1.8% of the population. 80% live in the plainlands in northern Bangladesh and the rest live in the south, in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. BRAC’s indigenous project has been working with indigenous people living in plainlands in Bangladesh for nine years now, and has learnt valuable lessons on what works.
The Global Education Summit convenes this week in London, gathering in virtual or hybrid form. It offers an extraordinary chance for the world community to focus on the vital role of education in transforming lives.
"Data will talk to you if you are willing to listen". Papia Ferdousei works with data at BRAC Education Programme. She and her team bring powerful insights from data which help BRAC to visualise measurable impacts.
Orientation encourages new employees to learn about their organisation. It builds confidence in new joiners to adapt faster to their roles. As face-to-face onboarding has become a thing of the past due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online onboarding has become the new normal.
Conventional wisdom is that the health of young children is not at great risk from COVID-19, but, in the Global South, the space constraints imposed on young children by the pandemic pose a significant risk to the stimulation on which brain development thrives. Early childhood development is further jeopardised by the pandemic’s impact on caregivers.