Education in Bangladeshi slums gets pro-poor
Providing eduction for children who, by necessity, need to work has always been a challenge. Bangladesh seems to have found part of the answer.
“Only 9.4% of slum areas in Bangladesh have access to primary schools (both public and private). In recent years, innovative programmes of basic education have been initiated to tackle the overwhelming problem of illiteracy in urban slums. Around three million of [the 19 million school aged children] do not enroll in primary. A high percentage of them reside in the urban slums. In 2008, only about half of the children living in urban slums attended school compared to a national average of 81% net attendance ratio.
“The non-formal schools (educational activity primarily run by NGOs, which takes place outside the formal system) play a vital role in providing access to education for slum children. These schools are usually free and offer flexible hours and classes. This ensures that children continue to make enough money to support their families while fulfilling their right to an education.”
Implications from Strategic Foresight Group:
“During the next decade, Bangladesh is likely to experience exponential growth in slums due to climatic and economic factors. Children from the poorest households in slums are more likely to be enrolled in non-formal education system as opposed to a formal school. This system is likely to give poor children a greater likelihood of gaining essential skills, which will provide scope for better employment opportunities in the future.”
Implications from Institute for the Future:
The flexibility of the non-formal schools that allows the students to continue working while receiving an education is the key innovation here. This pro-poor perspective, which respects the already existing societal structure as intelligently designed, simply supplements it with additional resources as opposed to redesigning it.
Sources:Strategic Foresight Group, July 2010, pg. 4