“NETZ is one of the European Union’s key partners in giving opportunities to the most marginalised and extreme poor in Bangladesh. Through joint projects to support sustainable livelihoods and primary education, NETZ ensures that thousands of families can live in dignity and see a real future for their children.
I personally witnessed how NETZ closely works with local civil society organisations to advocate for better policies for the poor in Bangladesh and stand up for their rights.
I wish to encourage NETZ staff, volunteers and supporters to continue working hard with and for the people of Bangladesh.”
William Hanna, European Union Ambassador in Bangladesh since January 2011.
Rumya Parvin is 21 years old and a pre-school teacher at the Shankardaka Public Primary School in Rangpur. "I am very happy that there is a pre-primary school at our local public school finally. I think it is important to prepare young children for their school life." Rumya is originally from Rangpur and glad that she found a job close to her home. She takes care of 25 children. "What I like about my job is that I can be very creative. I teach the children by using lots of different playing and teaching materials. In addition I conduct regular dancing and singing classes. This is what I and the children love most." Rumya very much interested to participate in the monthly refresher-trainings, where she learns new teaching methods and has the opportunity to exchange her experiences with other pre-school teachers.
Rumya Parvin, teacher at the Shankardaka Public Primary School in Rangpur
Shamsul Islam works as Education Support Organizer at the Shankardaka Public Primary School in Rangpur. One of his responsibilities is to give additional support to slow learners, during school breaks and after school. Another important task is visiting households in the area in order to identify school age children, especially from extreme poor families. "Sometimes it is challenging to motivate parents to send their children to school. I try to raise their awareness on the importance of education for their children's future". He conducts regular home visits when children are absent from school. "Parents often expect that children contribute to the family income or they have to look after younger siblings and do household work. The older students of grade 4 and 5 are particularly affected." Beyond that he supports primary school graduates to enroll in the nearby high school. Last year he succeeded to convince the headmaster of the high school to exempt children from the poorest families from enrolment fees. "I try to maintain a good relationship with parents and communicate regularly with high school teachers to follow up how my students cope with their high school life. This goes beyond my job description, but it is my personal interest."
Shamsul Islam, Education Support Organizer at the Shankardaka Public Primary School in Rangpur
During the last years the government was very successful in scaling up enrolment rates of children, but the drop out rates are still high. One of the challenges is to ensure regular attendance of students and teachers. Moreover, school committees are often inactive and do not fulfil their roles and responsibilities. "Now that the enrolment rates have improved we have to take care of the quality of our public schools. A crucial problem we face is that we can hardly provide education for children living in char areas. It is very difficult to motivate teachers to work in char areas and school supervisors would not be able to visit and monitor these schools regularly. We have to develop a common strategy how to improve the education infrastructure at chars together with NGOs. These areas are very often affected by floods and people have to take a boat or walk far distances to reach them."
Ahmed Talukder, Deputy Director Rangpur Division
Ahamim Akter appreciates the contribution of NETZ and its Partner-NGO JCF for the provision of education to children, especially children from remote char areas. Their work goes hand in hand with that of the local government. There is a regular communication and exchange of experience. "Unfortunately, the government is not able to set up enough schools in char areas. It is impossible for us to monitor those schools, since it is very difficult and time consuming to visit them regularly. We simply do not have enough personnel. Another problem is that it would be hard for us to recruit teachers who are willing to work in these remote areas." Ahamim is in favour of the concept of Anandalok schools. Especially because mostly teachers from the same area are recruited and trained. He also appreciates the support given to public schools, since the number and attendance rate of children has increased, especially regarding children from extreme poor families. Furthermore, pre-schools and school libraries were established and teachers receive continous trainings. In return the government supplies Anandalok and NFPE schools with free school books. Ahamim underlines that NFPE schools still are an important part of the education system in Bangladesh, as it would be impossible to build a permanent schools in some of the remotest areas.
Ahamim Akter, Assistant Upazila Education Officer in Rangpur district
Shamon Karmikar owns the land, where the Belamla NFPE school building was established. It is important to him that children of his village have access to education. He is glad that his now 13-years-old son Taposh had the opportunity to visit the school. He graduated in 2011 and is now in class 8 at the local high school. It is difficult for them to pay for his son’s school uniform, learning materials and exam fees at the high school, especially during Monga, a famine-like season. But his son’s education is his priority. “Nowadays we have the opportunity to send our children to school. We have to embrace this opportunitiy for our children.” Shamon Karmikar encourages his son every day to do his homework and study for his exams.
Shamon Karmikar, owner of the land, where the Belamla NFPR school was builded
Anowar Hussein is the chairperson of the School Management Committee (SMC) of a NFPE school in Dalimba village in Joypurhat district. To ensure good teaching quality at the school is very important to him. His son Naimen is a student there. He would like to become an engineer. "I am very thankful that this school was established in our village. Before we were not able to send our children to school, because the next primary school is too far away." From the very beginning he was involved in the management of the school. He helped selecting the land for the school construction and in the recruiting of teacher. Together with the other members of the SMC he regularly monitors the attendance rates of children and the teacher. Moreover, he is responsible for looking after the school building. "Jonata Rani is a great teacher and very educated. We are very satisfied with the quality of her teaching and her teaching methods. Our children make good progress thanks to her efforts." The members of the SMC meet at least once a month. "Sometimes we discuss on health issues of the children. We talk to their parents, when we see that a child does not look well or that does not attend school regularly."
Anowar Hussein, chairperson of the School Management Committee (SMC) of a NFPE school in Dalimba village
Kumari Sujita Rani is 14 years old and lives in Belamla village in Joypurhat district. She went to primary school at the Belamla NFPE school and graduated in 2011. Her mother Laboni Rani encouraged her to continue her education at a secondary school. Currently she is attending class 8. Her favourite subject is English. After graduating from secondary school she would like to become a nurse. Her mother has five other children and sometimes it is difficult for her to afford exam fees, school uniforms and learning materials. However, she wants a better future for her daughter. She is participating in the Sustainable Livelihoods Programme of NETZ since 2007. The additonal income she gains from her cattle and chicken she received from the programme allows her to send Shapla to a secondary school.
Kumari Sujita Rani, 14 years old, student of the Belamla NFPE school
Nurnakar Begum is glad for having the opportunity to send her 8-years-old daughter Shapla to school close to their home. The small village in Rangpur district is located at a char, a remote river island, and regularly affected by floods. Here schools are usually rare. The NFPE school enables children of her village to access primary education. The nearest public school is 4 km away and it would be unsafe and wearing to send them their. Nurnakar herself is illiterate and had never the chance to visit a school. She and her husband work in acriculture. In addition, she established a small business. She sews hats with other women from the village, which provides a small additional income to the family.
Nurnakar Begum, mother of a NFPE-student