All developed countries have been successful putting high emphasis on education. Bangladesh is also working to maintain this process. Everyone of the society should come forward from their respective positions in spreading the light of education to build up a developed Bangladesh. Dropping out from primary schools in Bangladesh is yet to be stopped totally.
In order to reduce the dropout rate from the primary schools participation of all alongside the government is very important. Teachers as well as education officers, staff and people of all stages of society can take part in the process and play a vital role in this regard. The government has taken multiple steps so that the children of poverty stricken families do not leave primary school due to lack of financial support. The government has declared primary education free of cost and compulsory for all, and it is being implemented accordingly.
Also, it has launched the program of giving stipend in encouraging the school-going children. The students, who have got 33 percent marks in previous exams and at the same time ensured their attendance rate at least 85 percent, are eligible for receiving stipend.
Besides, a set of book is being handed over to all the students of primary schools on the very first day of each new year so that no guardian has to spend extra money in terms of buying books. Wash blocks are being constructed in every school. Giving highest emphasis on primary education is a very praiseworthy work by the government. Still, the dropout rate in primary education is 20.4 percent. So, united efforts of all are a must to drop down it to nil.
If any unconscious guardian shows reluctance because of their poverty, members of school managing committee, influential people of society and local elites with the help of local administration can hold guardian meetings, mother conferences and yard meetings to make the parents aware. Students show eagerness to come to school if mid-day meal is offered through the help of local affluent people.
With a view to increasing attendance and reducing dropout rate, teachers and members of school managing committee can visit students' homes. The members can monitor whether teachers leaving in remote areas are coming to school regularly and timely.
If any teacher does not come timely, the members talk to them and solve their problem. School managing committee can arrange voluntary teacher, if education is hampered due to shortage of teachers. Repair and reconstruction can be done by the help of local government representatives as well as local administration.
Annual sports competition, cultural program and picnic can be arranged in schools. In this case, school managing committee local elites, leaders and former students can come forward. Guardians can be invited in each and every program.
By discussing with local administration, union council and upazila Parishad, school dress, education aid, school bags etc can be distributed among students of the poor families. Besides, with a view to encouraging the talented students, they can be rewarded or stipend can be given them according to their results.
Different types of activities can be taken up by local people in order to make school attractive to students. For example - teachers and school managing committee can play a vital role in decorating the classrooms with different materials, decorating walls with paintings or pictures drawn by students themselves and making flower gardens.
To materialize the dream of the government to turn Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021 as well as a developed one within 2041, there is no alternative to bringing down dropout rate in primary schools across the country.
United efforts of all -- of teachers, officers, staff, school managing committee, local government representatives, guardians, local administration, civil society and common people -- can curb the dropout rate, to a real sense.
The writer is Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Brahmanbaria Sadar
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