Nonfiction in response to Quality Education
By Amrita Bhasin
CC Image courtesy of UN Women Asian and the Pacific
Currently, there are far too many children not attending school or having access to acceptable health care in Bangladesh. As seen throughout history, education is the avenue for social mobility, and it is one of the best ways for society to innovate and progress. Five million students are currently out of school, and only 50 percent of the students who enroll in first grade reach grade 10 (1). Regardless of income or socio-economic status, it is a travesty to deny any student an education or free healthcare. There are far too many children dying of diseases in poverty-stricken countries and suffering due to inhumane or unsanitary conditions. It is the world’s duty to aid these children and implement beneficial policies so children in developing nations can have better lives.
Currently, there is a multitude of programs and organizations dedicated to increasing awareness concerning the importance of education and seeking potential ways to educate more children. The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative is one of these programs that encourages girls to delay marriage and pursue an education. It is hoped that integrating education at an early level will help children stay in school and raise support for education as a mainstream necessity (3).
94 percent of students who attended preschools instituted by UNICEF enrolled in primary school (3). Moreover, the Young Champions Initiative is benefitting 7.5 million children/adolescents every year in secondary schools. The primary-school enrollment rates cover 89 percent of boys and 94 percent of girls in Bangladesh, a significant increase from a few decades ago (4). The number of students reaching grade 5 in primary school has increased from 63.6 percent in 2009 to 79.8 percent presently. Clearly, an emphasis on education and resources being allocated for this issue are helping to educate more children.
However, there is still work to be done in Bangladesh in order to ensure that the most number of children possible are being provided an education of the highest possible caliber. Over 10 percent of primary school teaching positions are empty, and “one third of staff at government schools teach without a Certificate in Education.” Many students have difficulty meeting learning standards, and “it takes an average of 8.5 years for a child to complete grades one through five.” There is an overall lack of space to accommodate all children, so some are only able to attend school half the time they should (4). Schools that do not have the funding or resources for improved learning environments notice that it restricts and disrupts the learning environment that are so necessary to cultivating these children’s intellectual capabilities. Currently, school is only free from grades 1 to 5, and students are only required to be in school between six and ten years of age. UNICEF believes that it is probable that amending the laws to require children up to age 18 to attend school (like many western countries) would increase overall enrollment and promote education as a positive tool for social and economic change and opportunity. Moreover, if school was free until grade 12, children wouldn’t have to face one more barrier in the way of receiving an education—and obviously, more resources and support for learning tools create a more effective environment.