Education Programme aims to achieve three specific objectives such as, (i) to provide quality education in rural areas, (ii) to mainstream slum children in public and private educational system, and (iii) to develop awareness to protect and promote children rights, women rights and voting rights. In order to achieve these three main objectives, Prantic has been conducting following three activities in the working area.
1. ChildrenGraceBilingualPrimary School
Background: Prantic has been conducting “Children Grace Bilingual Primary School” since 2001. Children Graces are formal primary schools introduced to demonstrate child centered education system in Bangladesh. It follows government curriculum, however, incorporated some additional subjects to develop skills on English language, behavioral change and self-dependence. In order to increase student’s knowledge and skill, Prantic has introduced some tools like creative writing, project development, presentation of concurrent issues etc. In order to make the course more enjoyable, Prantic conducts extracurricular activities like children theatre, role-play, debate and cultural activities.
Methodology: Prantic develops educational materials as per children demand. There is strong demand from local government to establish more schools in the neighboring upazilas however, fund scarcity refrains Prantic from extending in other areas. Main features of Children Grace Bilingual Schools are stated below.
- Child- centred active learning.
- Efficient use of teaching-learning time.
- Use of appropriate educational materials.
- Tasks are almost completed within school hours.
- Bilingual teaching with equal emphasis on English and Bangla.
- Continuous assessment based on weekly, fortnightly and quarterly lesson plans.
Prantic prefers graduate females (housewife) from the locality and provides 15 days foundation training to the teacher. Before joining the schools permanently, the teachers need to pass a 6 months provisional period successfully. Prantic receives minimum fees from the students to reduce subsidy. Experience shows that a new school needs about three years to attain operational costs. In three years, a total of BDT 0.5 million is required to establish a school in the rural area.
So far, Prantic established four schools in four districts however two comprising 250 children are in operation in two districts namely Dhaka and Noakhali. The Dhaka’s one has been introduced in a very limited capacity (up to class-1) mainly to (i) develop competency of children to get access to government primary schools, (ii) monitor the effectiveness of school curriculum, (iii) investigate functionality of the education tools and (iv) test methodologies developed for child development.
Students in Noakhali have been appearing in the nationwide Primary School Certificate (PSC) Examination soon after registration from the Primary School Board since 2009. Before that Prantic used to release students after class three and peruse the neighbouring government primary schools to allow them appearing in PSC.
Students are showing satisfactory results in the said examination. In the year 2009, there was only one candidate secured 2nd class. In 2010 all the three candidates secured 1st division. In 2011, out of six students, three obtained A (+), two A, and the rest one got A (-). Two got national scholarship including one in talent pool. Besides, 7 students from Noakhali acquired scholarship from private entrepreneurs introduced to memorise local elites and riches. School performance of 2011 attracted 52 new students to join in Play and Nursery class. Prantic intends to expand Children Grace Bilingual School subject to the availability of fund. In 2012, there were 10 candidates in PSC. Out of these 10, 5 got A(+) and the other got A. In 2013, a total of 19 students appeared in PSC exam. Out of these, 6 got A(+), 5 got (A), 7 got (A-) and one autistic student got (C). In 2014, out of 22 students 6 got (A+), 15 got (A) and 1 got (A-). Begumganj upazila administration approved guardians’ request of upgrading school to Junior High School. Prantic management is planning to upgrade the school to Junior High School in 2016.
2. Community Based Children Learning Centre (CBCLC)
Prantic has introduced CBCLC in response to the demand of the beneficiaries mainly in Dhaka. It was started in 2000 by the request of the beneficiary leaders living in slum areas with following context:
a) Beneficiaries are not able to look after their children as they are mostly illiterate
b) Not able to deploy house tutor to assist children
c) Children attempt to escape school as they fail to accomplish homework imposed by class teachers.
d) About 90% of the slum children get dropped from government primary schools within 2-3 years.
Prantic started this activity only with 15 students in Dhaka. Out of these 15, 8 students secured position in the merit lists of their respective schools. Respective parents came to Prantic office and burst into tears after attaining such outstanding result by their children.
Prantic has developed a teaching manual for the teachers to ensure participatory self-learning system among the students. The curriculum has designed with formal courses together with games and cultural activities as desired by the students. Prantic conducts two hours session everyday and five days in a week. During the session, first 60 minutes are allocated to assist them to perform homework, next 60 minutes for fundamental education that is conducted according to Prantic teaching methodology. The system attracts the children to attend the centre regularly without imposing pressure from guardians.
Data reveals that CBCLC students gained an average increase of 275% marks in the last three years. Students usually obtain 20 marks in average in admission test which then improved to an average of 75 marks after one year of learning from this centre. Above Chart illustrates a comparative performance of CBCLC students in the last three years.
Community leaders, civil society members and elite appreciate this programme. Some rich people in Dhaka donate a significant quantity of used cloths, shoes and school materials such as utensils, bags and water flux (used by their children) for the students. Prantic Unnayan Society receives such donations from the rich every year and distribute among the students.
Prantic receives a very minimum amount of monthly fee from each student mainly to make them accountable to the centre. School materials, books, accessories and space are used to conduct CBCLC despite having problem maintaining working environment in the office. By 2011, a total of 1012 students took lessons from this centre. All six students of class v obtained A+ and A in the Primary Completion Examination, 2011.
3. Adult Literacy
Prantic has been a member of a literacy campaign led by Proshika Manobik Unnayan Kendra, a national NGO to literate the adults throughout the country. Prantic has been involved with this network in Maheshpur with a NGO named Welfare Efforts (WE). Prantic conducted 20 centers in one union however funding has been stopped after three months of operation.