Good governance, transparency in the distribution of need-based financial support, and alternative learning opportunities should be given the highest importance to reduce the rate of school dropouts and ensure better education for students of the urban slum schools – especially at the secondary level, recommended a study conducted by Plan International Bangladesh.
The findings of the study - focused on reducing school dropouts in the urban slums of Bangladesh in the post-Covid-19 period - were presented on Wednesday, read a press release.
The study suggested, now that schools have reopened, financial and other supports are necessary for the students to continue with their education.
The study, conducted with the support of the Research and Development Collective (RDC), surveyed over 40 schools and some 673 student households in Dhaka South City Corporation from December 2020 to March 2021.
The survey showed that the stakeholders of the schools (parents, teachers, and other concerned individuals or organisations) believe that it is the responsibility of the students and parents to look after the students' education and that schoolteachers and parents should team up to ensure the students are studying properly.
Some stakeholders thought, however, that they did not have any proactive role to play to address the increasing number of dropouts.
The survey also found that while all the participating schools had school management committees (SMC), only 27.5% have parents-teachers association (PTA) and about 52% have school cabinets. But, the role of the PTA in schools was very limited concerning the matters of the student's education and SMCs generally take care of most school affairs.
Prof Dr Syed Md Golam Faruk, director general, Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE), was present during the findings sharing event as the chief guest. He said even though last year the pandemic took the education system of the country by surprise, the authorities are working to strengthen their mechanism to better cope with such situations in the future.
Ashik Billah, head of Central & Northern Region, Plan International Bangladesh, said, education officers, teachers and the school management committee should discuss school management, challenges, and way forward at least once in three months.
"School fees should be exempted for students from urban slums, rural areas, especially those who are from the families in financial crisis, as their income has been challenged due to Covid-19 pandemic," he added.
Wahida Banu, executive director, Aparajeyo Bangladesh and Dr Syeda Tahmina Akhter, professor, IER, University of Dhaka, were present on the occasion as special guests.
Nishat Nazmi, education officer of Unicef Bangladesh and Abu Taher, executive director of Surovi spoke as panellists in the event moderated by Manik Kumar Saha, project manager, Plan International Bangladesh.