A child reciting poetry in a DoPeace school
I am reporting the progress based on my two weeks, a bi-annual visit to Bangladesh. The weather didn't cooperate much, but I was able to visit 40 out of a total of 45 DoPeace learning centers across Bangladesh, servicing about 10,000 children.
We have taken a major turn with results that is quite encouraging. We are embedded more in the community of slum dwellers as a partner in the education of their children. On an average of 4 households per family, we have a constituent of about 40,000 slum dwellers. This may fill a small size stadium!
We have kept the cost low at the tune of one USD per child per month.
We have kept the quality of education high. We have developed close ties with primary schools, which are excited to admit our preschool graduates. In many cases, several primary schools are competing for our graduates from a single learning center, as they are simply unable to get more prepared students. Even when Bangladesh Government has mandated preschool education, the infrastructure is not developed at all locations. So, there is a severe lack of adequate education at the preschool level. DoPeace is uniquely filling that gap at the locations we are in.
Our after-school coaching for students from grades 2 to 5 is serving students to reduce dropout and even excel in studies. In Bangladesh, the class rosters are in order of the grades obtained that is called the class ranking. We track the class ranking of each coaching student as they graduate from one class to another. We are thrilled to see the class ranking going up, sometimes quite dramatically. The coaching is producing significant results.
Our major advantage is the location of the learning centers. They are in the middle of the community, just a few steps from their homes. Mostly, it just takes less than 5 minutes for the parent (mostly mothers) to drop the child, then they either hang around the learning center or come back to pick up the child. The after-school coaching students generally walk-in by themselves.
For the preschool, our push is to hire instructors from the community, providing a comfort level of familiarity to the children. However, for coaching, it is generally not possible, as the education required is not available within. However, they will have a shorter commute.
Our NGOs have done a phenomenal job in implementing the DoPeace model. They are PBUS in Dhaka, Al-Falah Bangladesh in Dhaka, ISDE in Chittagong, DOPS in Saidpur, and DCPUK in Rangpur. We are very proud of what they were able to accomplish in a short period of time.
NGOs are required to provide the daily report of each learning center, sent via email. They have their performance parameters that we monitor daily, monthly, and yearly. Not meeting the performance parameters may be the cause of termination of the agreement.
Further, each learning center has a Learning Center Management Committee of seven members chosen from the community that oversees the operation of the learning center. They ensure that the learning center is running smoothly on a daily basis. They are particularly responsible for the attendance of the children. If someone is missing school, the LCMC will find out the reason and will discuss with the parents. In the case of the coaching, excessive absenteeism will be a cause for termination of the student and will be replaced by another student: the parents are acutely made aware of this policy.
Some major improvements are on the horizon based on the input we have received from the stakeholders. We have pledged to continuously improve the quality of education and contain the cost.
This whole enterprise would not have been possible without the relentless efforts of Dewan Wasek, who is the Bangladesh representative of DoPeace. Dewan is a professional par excellence, highly educated from Dhaka University, and has a successful track record in the development field. I am very proud of his association with the DoPeace cause.
I have a song
Here is my lesson
I have something to say