Geographical Exclusion to Educational Innovation: A Study on BRAC Shikkhatari

This study aimed to understand BRAC Boat School (Shikkhatari) initiative in terms of  innovation, quality of education and existing challenges. Whether spatial exclusion can  be a basis for educational innovation was also addressed in the study. A mixed method  approach was used which included survey, interviews and classroom observations. Fifty  randomly selected Shikkhataris and 500 households of the students were surveyed.  Programme Organisers and teachers were interviewed in eight schools and  approximately 18 hours of observation were done in each.

Findings reveal that proper geographical targeting was done in setting-up the  Shikkhataris. These were established nearer to the localities. Parents reported that a  vast majority of the students had to cross a waterway to get to school in the monsoon  in absence of Shikkhatari. About half of the students got schools in their own hatis.  Evidence suggests that over half of the students of Shikkhataris have migrated from  government primary schools. Most parents sent students to Shikkhataris for good quality  and free education and close proximity of schools from hatis. There were huge  operational challenges related to teachers’ recruitment, school supervision and  maintenance of desired contact hours. Mechanical problems of boats and extreme  weather conditions sometimes delayed students’ pick-up, which shortened classroom  contact hours. Additionally, teacher retention was a vital issue. However, these  challenges, this initiative has been highly successful in geographical targeting of areas  that needed extensive intervention. The intervention was indeed an innovation.  Intensive teachers’ training and their retention, infrastructural modifications to facilitate  teaching-learning and innovative management system are some of the issues that need  to be reconsidered for the sustainability of the initiative.

Related information

  • Writer Name: Nawra Mehrin, Nowreen Yasmin, Samir Ranjan Nath
  • Published Date: Monday, 01 December 2014
  • Country: Bangladesh