Shikkha Chitro - Relevance of Basic Quality Education for Children

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Summary: The present study has been conducted to
clarify the relevance of basic
education for children in the current
social and economic context, so that a
holistic strategy can be advocated for
fundamental reforms in Bangladesh.
PREFACE

The present study has been conducted to clarify the relevance of
basic education for children in the current social and economic
context, so that a holistic strategy can be advocated for fundamental
reforms in Bangladesh.

In this study we investigated people's perspectives from a rural and
an urban area of Bangladesh, with a sample that was representative of
various sections of the society, which is described in the section on
Methodology. The opinions of 447 children and adults were taken and
form the basis of this report.

The study is not an analysis of the different systems of quality
education which are being practised by NGOs in Bangladesh, nor a base
line survey or quantitative analysis by any stretch of imagination.
It is also not a review of the 'success' of primary education as a
result of the enormous efforts undertaken by the government and NGOs,
which is already available among donros and large research
organisations. On the other hand, this study focuses more on the
impact or relevance of primary education from the perspectives of
different categories of adult and child respondents, including those
who suffer social exclusion in their day to day life. The purpose of
this study is to use if for a particular kind of advocacy with policy
makers, where views of the respondents regarding 'relevance' takes
precedence over 'hard-facts' about the pattern of educational
attainment nationally. As a result of the present study, many
questions were raised and need to be addressed in future advocacy
interventions.

A fundamental issue about ethics of development emerges as a result
of this study. Ever since President Truman divided the world into
'developed' and 'undeveloped' countries, we have all been co-opted
into this power game of making distinctions between 'us and them',
the privileged country, class, caste, gender versus the less
privileged, the ignorant and the 'community'. Many of these are
intended or unintended alliances, formed globally, nationally and
locally are based on a tacit agreement that 'our' power depends on
'their' weakness.

A brief comparison of low-income rural and urban 'community'
perspectives with those of the elite in this study have revealed the
underlying dynamics of power in the field of education, as anywhere
else. It has also shifted the spotlight from 'them' to 'us'. Are we
willing to look at ourselves critically and take responsibility for
our action? Are 'we' willing to shift a little from the top and make
a place for 'them'? These questions formed the basis for the second
phase of the study. Operationally it meant taking a mroe balanced
representation of higher and lower income groups of people and
exploring the dynamics of power and control at the micro-level. We
can then understand why we have been constantly self-defeating our
efforts. We hope this study would serve as a starting point for
debating and developing strategies for advocacy both at the national
and global level. In the end 'Shikkha Chitro' (the picture of
education) should certainly become clearer.

Countries

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