Send your child to school. When I was a kid, I used to see this line written on many walls, buses, and trucks in my city but the parents believed education was meant only for rich people. In rural areas, parents preferred to send their children to big cities for work instead of school. Yes, some parents understood the value of education even at that time but only for boys. The literacy rate was below 45% and more than half of the children were out of school.

The scenario has been improved a lot over the years. According to USAID literacy rate has increased to 71% in Bangladesh and 98% of children above 5 years old enrolled in primary school thanks to Bangladesh Government and different NGO organizations such as BRAC and Grameen Bank. That means 9 out of every 10 children are receiving primary education in Bangladesh. Moreover,  Bangladesh has achieved gender equality in terms of primary education and around 51% of the enrolled students were girls in 2016 ( Source BBS).

Incentives such as free books for everyone, half-yearly Scholarships based on attendance, and mid-day meals boosted not only admission percentage but also attendance. Bangladesh Government initially provided this scholarship only for girls. Since 2009 boys are also receiving it. The role of Non-Government Organizations (NGO) was also significant. BRAC has founded thousands of 1-room primary schools across Bangladesh. This nonformal education focused mainly on girls and they recruited only female teachers from the local people. The class schedule was flexible to meet local needs so that children can attend school whenever they want along with chores or harvesting.

Despite these successes, quality education for everyone is still a dream. Our government is still struggling to form a sustainable and unitary curriculum for all children. The skilled teacher has been a major concern recently as teaching is not a lucrative profession anymore due to low salary. The education ministry is introducing new subjects such as computer literacy for everyone, but the teachers are still not well trained which is affecting the quality of teaching. Budget is also a major issue. The total budget for education is $8.5 billion this year which is around 11% higher than the previous year but only 2.08% of the total GDP! Therefore, the government needs to put more resources on education to see the better output in the upcoming days. The initial planning was to ensure education for every child. Now Bangladesh Government needs to focus on providing quality education for everyone before it is too late.

Thumbnail Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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