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
This year’s World Youth Skills Day is about “reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic”. The skill sets for the youth are often changing and just as Bob Dylan had once prophesied, the old road (to development) is rapidly aging, and the new generation is adapting and thriving.
The transition from in-school to online learning can easily seem like a mechanical one, but it creates new challenges for remote and poor communities. These challenges can lead to devastating consequences for girls.
Schools in Bangladesh have been closed since March 2020, with remote education taking their place. That poses a very practical problem. When students return, each of them will have had greatly varied educational experiences.
No one comes out of a crisis without being changed in some way, and this pandemic is a crisis on a scale we have rarely seen: It has put years of progress in human development at stake; inequity is at its worst.
Bangladesh has four million child brides, the second-highest in the world. More than half of all married women now in their twenties were married before the age of 18. At BRAC, tackling this challenge is one of our highest priorities. Here is a snapshot of how we are trying to change the futures of girl children.
Ahead of this week’s selection panel of ‘Sir Fazle Hasan Abed Ashoka Young Changemakers’ we’d like to take a moment to share about the deep roots of Sir Fazle and BRAC’s long-standing relation with Ashoka.