BRAC, the largest NGO in the world, is involved in various educational programmes as part of its general strategy of poverty reduction. Post-primary Basic and Continuing Education (PACE) is one of the major components of BRAC Education Programme (BEP). PACE interventions was started in 2001 for capacity development and improvement in teaching-learning in rural non-government secondary schools.
PACE has two components – Post-primary Basic Education (PBEn) and Continuing Education (CE). The CE programme was started in 1995 with Multi-purpose Community Learning Centres (MCLC) of BRAC, locally known as Gonokendro, to provide access to reading and literacy materials to rural communities.
This study aimed to evaluate the Multipurpose Learning Centres or Gonokendros (GK) operated by BRAC jointly with the local community in rural areas of Bangladesh.
Two main goals were process evaluation and impact assessment. The idea behind the process evaluation is to explore how the centres are utilised and how the users perceive the quality of services which may differ in different types of centres. In impact assessment, the focus has been on how the centres have benefited local community and the channels through which individuals are affected. Eighteen centres of different types and 900 respondents (450 students and 450 adults) were selected through stratified random sampling. Three control areas and 150 respondents were also selected for comparison. There are three types of GKs facility-wise - comprehensive GKs with computer, mobile library and fixed library; medium GKs with mobile library and fixed library; and limited GKs with fixed library only. These three types are also classified into old GKs established during 2002- 2006 and young GKs established during 2007-2009. Out of 18 GKs, 10 fall in less advanced areas and 8 in advanced areas, all are rural. Three control areas are in less developed areas. Among the 18 centres one is situated outside of a school compound, whereas 17 GKs are attached to schools. Two centres are situated in the girls’ schools.
Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through survey questionnaires, indepth interviews, and focus group discussions (FGD) in both intervention and control areas. Results on process evaluation show that among the 900 respondents from GK areas, 737 (82%) were the users of library. Of them, 41% were general population and 59% were students. The rate of participation was high among the students, 99% of them visited the library because the libraries are located in schools. The rate of participation was 69% among general population.