Education for adolescents
Not lost in transit, but preparing for success
Despite there being a very high transition rate from primary to secondary schools in Bangladesh, a comparatively few can continue learning in the education system.
These children form three categories:
1. Those out of school, including dropouts and those never enrolled
2. Those attending school, but at risk of dropout
3. Those completing their education, but without employment skills
The proportion of children in secondary schools in Bangladesh is lowest in South Asia. Barely 46 per cent of the 95 per cent who pass the primary school level
The net enrolment rate in secondary education is only 50 per cent, with girls higher than boys. The secondary school cycle is not completed by 75 per cent of children at that age. The rate of girls dropping out of sixth and seventh grade is more than double than boys.
Dropout rate reaches a peak in eighth grade. At this stage, 14.6 per cent of both boys and girls leave school
Their vulnerabilities around education are influenced by other vulnerabilities: gender discrimination, socioeconomic status and living in hard-to reach areas. If dropouts are to be prevented, school lessons need more quality and relevance, especially to skills needed for employment.
Because of the distance students must travel to reach school, many adolescents in hard-to-reach areas stop going to classes
There are even more factors: the cost of education, the absence of child-friendly environment and lack of protection from sexual harassment. Girls also drop out because they are married early.
The mainstream form of education cannot support all children, who require more options beyond formal education. But there is limited scope of alternative or skills-based education, which can eventually lead to better livelihoods.
For out-of-school adolescents, UNICEF creates alternative learning pathways, as per the National Technical and Vocational Qualification Framework, that link them with employment.
Working with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and BRAC, a supervised informal apprenticeship programme has been setup for out-of-school adolescents.
Foundational, transferable and employable skills are offered to adolescents under Second Chance Education and other flexible alternative education options.
UNICEF creates pathways for Technical and Vocational Education and Training or TVET, which provide strong relevancy and motivate learners to continue education. Two-thirds of adolescents say they want to enrol in TVET and get apprenticeships, according to the Education Watch survey.
UNICEF gathers evidence to include these alternative pathways in the national education programme, besides costed action to increase access and retention in education.
For in-school adolescents, UNICEF focuses on removing barriers to increase the flow and continuation of secondary education.
UNICEF improves the condition of secondary schools through school-based planning. It is an approach that keeps adolescents in school, reduce dropout and increase secondary cycle completion.
Communities have major impacts on adolescents. So society figures including religious representatives are tasked with monitoring the developments needs of children
UNICEF strengthens platform like school cabinet to engage adolescents who face many personal and social challenges, from drug addiction to sexual harassment and early marriage.
UNICEF bases its long experience and expertise on mainstreaming life-skills based education to increase relevancy of secondary school education by embedding skills in to curriculum, teaching learning process and teacher.