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Researchers recommend collaborative efforts, preparation to prevent school dropouts

  • News Desk,
    Published: 2021-11-24 20:54:40 BdST


A study of slum schools in Dhaka has found collaborative efforts and preparation are required to reduce the rate of dropouts and ensure better education for the students.

The researchers have outlined the importance of good governance and fairness in need-based financial support, development work and alternative learning opportunities in the report published on Wednesday.

International development organisation Plan International Bangladesh, with the support of Research and Development Collective, conducted the baseline survey in over 40 schools and a total of 673 households of students from different grades in Dhaka South City Corporation from December 2020 to March 2021.

All the schools have a management committee but only 27.5 percent have parents-teachers associations and about 52 percent have school cabinets, the survey found.

The stakeholders are aware of the high rate of dropouts in secondary schools, particularly for girls in the urban slums.

However, they do not think that they have any proactive role to play to address the issue, the study says.

They generally suggest school-based initiatives to prevent dropouts. They think that this was primarily the responsibility of the parents to look after their studies at home.

They also feel that the teachers and parents should ensure that students are regular in school and they study hard.

According to these stakeholders, teachers and parents’ supervision is important to ensure regular attendance of students in school to prevent dropout.

Another major finding was that though there were expectations from the parent-teacher association in the school, their current role and responsibilities are very limited. The stakeholders noted that the parents are indifferent to school affairs and irregular in meetings.

The long school closure amid the pandemic has had an adverse impact on the students’ learning. “Besides government initiative, schools must plan on how they can take initiatives to address learning loss of the students. Remedial education and other necessary support should be ensured in the school so that students could get back on track in their study,” the researchers wrote in the report.

The report suggests financial and other supports are necessary for the students as the schools have reopened. Schools should take necessary steps to ensure the admission of all students instead of imposing the burden of due fees and other charges which may cause them to drop out.

Syed Md Golam Faruk, director-general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, said at an event marking the publication of the report that the world has faced unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic.

“Our teachers and students were not familiar with and prepared for such a critical situation. But, we worked to ensure an immediate response,” he said, noting that the authorities launched classes on TV and the internet to continue education activities.

“We did have technological challenges. But we are working to develop a strong mechanism to cope up with such a situation in better ways in future.”

Ashik Billah, head of central and northern region at Plan International Bangladesh, said education officers, teachers and school management committees should discuss school management, challenges and way forward at least once in three months.

School fees should be exempted for students from urban slums, rural areas, especially those who are from families in financial crisis, as their income has been challenged by the COVID-19 crisis. “Collaborative action and focus are required to ensure child protection,” he said.

Among others, Wahida Banu, executive director of Aparajeyo Bangladesh, Syeda Tahmina Akhter, professor at Dhaka University’s Institute of Education and Research, Nishat Nazmi, education officer of UNICEF Bangladesh and Abu Taher, executive director of SUROVI, were present in the event moderated by Manik Kumar Saha, project manager, Plan International Bangladesh.

The discussants emphasised infrastructural development and hygiene management facilities for girls to ensure they attend classes.

Plan International Bangladesh is currently working with the DSHE with the focus on strengthening the capacity of school management committees, parent-teacher associations and student cabinets.