Education in Bangladesh

Honourable Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid

Education Minister of Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a huge country in terms of population. It also has its huge challenges like poverty, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy etc. But we are fighting these adversaries with a vision. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, declared ‘Vision 2021’ for Bangladesh. A vision to become a knowledge based ICT oriented middle income country, by 2021, where poverty will be drastically reduced, the citizens will be able to meet every basic need and development will be on fast track, with ever-increasing rates of growth. The enrollment in primary level schools is 16.96 million, about 10 million students at secondary and higher secondary levels and more than 500 thousand students study in pre and post graduate levels.

Government of Bangladesh adopted and is implementing the Education Policy that reflects the aspirations of our people and the commitment of the government towards a holistic development of our human resource. Bangladesh started the gradual but successful implementation of the Policy and it is regarded as one of the most significant achievements of present government.

Government of Bangladesh committed towards Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and Dakar Declaration of Education for All. Even stepping forward to Dakar EFA Goals, present government is committed through its Election Manifesto to enroll all school age children by 2011 and to achieve complete literacy by the year 2014.Bangladesh already almost reached the target of MDG-2 with having 99.34% enrollment in primary education and partially MDG-3 through achieving gender parity at primary and secondary level . Bangladesh has taken due action with regard to improved access to Early Childhood Education and secondary education, expansion of skills development and higher education, qualitative improvement of teachers, ensuring good governance in education administration and gender mainstreaming in line with the Communiqué of 17th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers held in Kuala Lumpur in June 2009.

Government provides free primary education and provides stipend to about 25 million primary and secondary level students (From class I to class x). Textbooks are being supplied to all primary and secondary level students which is about 232 million books to about 32 million students. Next year we shall have to distribute more than 260 million books for the students free of cost for students. Girl’s education is free up to degree level and stipend is also provided to the poor students of that level. Inclusive education is now at the centre of our educational intervention. To support the poor and brilliant students of secondary and higher education an Education Trust Fund has been established. Every year hundreds of thousand teachers get different types of training.

Some reform initiatives have been undertaken for qualitative improvement of Education. Including modernization of curriculum, restructuring of examination system, introduction ‘creative examination system’. This examinational system makes rote learning irrelevant and promotes creative thinking among students. Half a million teacher of primary and secondary are being trained to improve teaching quality

In line with the vision to build ‘digital Bangladesh’, ‘multimedia classrooms’ has been established where laptops, multimedia projectors and internet modems are being supplied—in more than 20 thousand educational institutes. Thousands of teachers have been trained in developing digital teaching learning contents.

Emphasizing technical and vocational education and skills development, a Skills Development Policy has been formulated and the technical and vocational education system is gradually aligning with the Policy. Technical and Vocational Education has been introduced at secondary and higher secondary level.

Higher education facilities of the public universities are being spread over the entire country, so that students of different regions can receive higher education without going very far from their familiar environment at home. Thus there is at least one public university in all the administrative divisions of the country. At present there are 96 universities in Bangladesh of which 34 are public and 62 are private universities including engineering, agricultural, science and technological, medical and veterinary and animal science.

We strongly believe that joint effort, exchange of expertise in addressing common challenges in commonwealth countries could make a significant change towards socio-economic status through human resource development and definitely Bangladesh will be benefitted from that.

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