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Primary education

© UNICEF Bangladesh/2008/
Boys and girls in class 5 study Bangla with their teacher in Savar, Dhaka division.

UNICEF supports the Government of Bangladesh’s (GoB) Third Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP3). The PEDP3 is a five year, sector wide programme covering Grades I through V and one year of pre-primary education. The objective is ‘to establish an efficient, inclusive and equitable primary education system delivering effective and relevant child-friendly learning to all Bangladesh’s children from pre-primary through Grade V primary’.

Teacher training
To support the delivery of a higher quality of education in Bangladesh UNICEF is working with the GoB to implement the Diploma in Primary Education (DPEd). The DPEd is a training initiative designed to improve the quality of education delivery to the children of Bangladesh. The curriculum content of the DPEd has been upgraded from the former Certificate in Education and the emphasis is on child centred pedagogy. This improves the quality of teaching and supports the attainment of children’s learning competencies and outcomes.

Empowering primary schools
UNICEF develops the capacity of school management committees (SMCs) and other local representatives using the Child Friendly School (CFS) approach to ensure the development of planning and management skills. This capacity building helps stakeholders develop holistic School Level Improvement Plans (SLIPs). Based on the plans the government disburses grants which the SMCs utilize to implement the plans. Making decisions about the needs of the school fosters a sense of ownership among teachers and parents and establishes sustainability. Among the schools receiving grants, money has been spent on:

  • teaching materials 
  • books for school libraries 
  • benches 
  • ramps for disabled access 
  • sports days and prizes 
  • musical instruments 
  • school gardens
  • constructing toilets

Teachers involved in the SLIP process report feeling more motivated in the classroom because they have greater control over school resources and the learning environment.

Each Child Learns (ECL)
ECL aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning inside the classroom and make teachers accountable for each child’s learning. The approach has been widely tested and adapted to meet the realities of the government system including large class sizes.
A typical ECL classroom combines a range of elements that encourage more productive learning for children. ECL classrooms are characterized by:

  • Activity based learning (ABL): ABL teaches children through “hands on” activities. Children learn in a self-directed by seeing, touching and experiencing. 
  • Needs and interests: Each child is different and learning progresses according to each’s own interest, ability and pace.  Teachers are trained to identify and facilitate learning at an appropriate level for each child.  
  • Continuous assessment: Each learner is assessed continuously to establish the level of his/her acquired skills in order to be engaged in tasks that are interesting and challenging. 
  • Appropriate learning materials: ECL supplements nationally prescribed textbooks with a selection of colourful, interesting and developmentally appropriate books in a “reading corner”.
  • Encouraging reading: Children are encouraged to read together as a class as well as individually.

Motivating communities
UNICEF works to mobilize communities in support of primary education and primary schools. Local theatre groups present plays and puppet shows emphasising the importance of attending and completing primary school. The shows offer community members a chance to discuss sensitive issues including school attendance and drop-out. Over two million people attended these dramas in 2008.

Meena episodes contribute to a nation-wide awareness campaign promoting girls’ education, creative teaching and the idea that learning can be fun. 

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