Operational Challenges in Providing Primary Education Services in Wetland (Haor) and Tea Garden Areas of Sylhet Division in Bangladesh
Nawra Mehrin,Tanjeeba Chowdhury,Samir Ranjan Nath
This report is based on a review of BRAC’s programme on education specifically examine the challenges, coping strategies and the existing barriers to implementation of the BRAC Programme in eight marginalised upazilas of Sylhet Division. In 2011, BRAC selected these upazilas for extensive educational intervention because this consistently performed poorly in various development indicators, particularly in education. Also the socio-ecological characteristics of this region greatly hinder education progress. To get an in-depth understanding, the study employed a purely qualitative approach selecting five of the eight marginalised upazilas purposively where information were collected from multiple stakeholders. The study revealed that finding proper school rooms as per preferred size, infrastructure and maintenance was a major challenge which directly influenced classroom teaching and learning. Finding educated and good quality teachers and low retention because of marriage, childbirth, migration, low incentives etc. were another huge challenge in both haor and tea garden areas. Providing proper training to teachers was also difficult for communication, financial and security related problems. The main reasons behind student absenteeism and dropout were seasonal work, extreme weather condition, cultural festivities and household chores. Time lags and inefficiency due to poor communication systems, and very little time for educational monitoring greatly hampered the quality of teaching-learning in schools. Recommendations for improvement of the existing situation included increased expenditure on school rooms, teacher’s salaries and in-service teacher’s trainings. To ensure proper, timely and adequate educational monitoring, reconsidering the workload per staff and deployment of a greater number of qualified, trained and better remuneration are recommended.