Govt’s 100pc pry enrolment claim stands debunked
THE facts and figures contained in the Bangladesh Primary Education Annual Sector Performance Report and a report of the Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics, both published towards the end of 2012, certainly strip credence of the oft-repeated government claim of 100 per cent enrolment of children in primary schools. According to these reports, quoted in New Age on Friday, 1.91 crore children aged between 6 and 17 are not receiving any schooling. To deconstruct this number in layperson’s equations, almost 46 per cent of the total number of children is deprived of any schooling. This is indeed alarming because, if the interpretations of the latest surveys are to be given any credence, then almost half of children remain outside education. Not surprisingly, certain government sections have rejected the revelations, asserting that landmark progress has been made.
Since the current government’s pre-election pledge included ensuring full enrolment of children, prior to the upcoming polls the success rate will be measured to determine if the promise had been filled and, if not, then how far it fell short. Practically speaking, one hundred per cent enrolment in Bangladesh may be difficult, if not impossible, since certain areas are remote with many children with special needs often neglected when it comes to providing basic rights. Moreover, social approach to children with disabilities is still enveloped in prejudice and stigma, keeping a large number of them outside schools. Besides, there is the perennial problem of dropouts. Needless to say, integration of education with development priorities aimed at reducing poverty while increasing the number of school-going children has floundered. Common sense dictates that, when poverty creates food shortage, going to school is hardly a priority.
Therefore, no matter how the government tries to downplay the lacklustre picture of progress, we are inclined to believe that the absence of a strategic approach and persistent monitoring may have contributed to the dismal record of enrolment. Also, development organisations, national and international, cannot evade criticism because millions are spent every year in the name of educating children. Obviously, with elections just months away, miracles cannot be performed, so the next government has to tackle primary education issue with a solid five year plan, featuring regular mid-day meals and education with skill development. Meanwhile, it needs to be ensured that the official records of attainments reflect true successes, not fictional ones.
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THE facts and figures contained in the Bangladesh... Full story
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