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  • probirbidhan 05:20 on January 14, 2014 Permalink |
    Tags: , ভবন ধ্বস, রানা প্লাজা, building code, building collapse, , education, garments factory, Rana Plaza disaster, women workers   

    Help Rana Plaza victims, families: Amra 

    রানা প্লাজা ধ্বসের ঘটনায় ক্ষতিগ্রস্তদের সহযোগিতায় ‘আমরা’

    স্বেচ্ছাসেবী সংগঠন ‘আমরা’ ২৪শে এপ্রিল, ২০১৩-এর ভয়াবহ রানা প্লাজা বিধ্বস্ত হবার শুরু থেকেই নিহত, আহত ও নিখোঁজদের পরিবারদের জন্য সাময়িক ও দীর্ঘমেয়াদী ব্যবস্থার উদ্যোগ নিয়েছে। এখন পর্যন্ত ১৫টি পরিবারের জন্য গাভী, রিকশা ও দোকানের বন্দোবস্ত করে আয়-রোজগারের ব্যবস্থা দেয়া হয়েছে। পাশাপাশি সেসব পরিবারের ৩৭জন শিশুর শিক্ষাকালীন সকল খরচ বহনের জন্য ‘আমরা’ দৃঢ়প্রতিজ্ঞ।

    গত বছরের মত এই শিশুদের আগামী বছরের জন্য ভর্তি ও অন্যান ফিস, স্কুল ড্রেস ও কাগজ-কলমের ব্যবস্থা করতে ‘আমরা’ সমাজের সর্বস্তরের মানবিক ব্যক্তি ও সংগঠনের কাছে আবেদন জানাচ্ছে। হতদরিদ্র পরিবারগুলো উপার্জনক্ষম ব্যক্তিদের হারিয়ে যে অকূল সাগরে পড়েছে তা থেকে তাদেরকে মুক্ত করতে ‘আমরা’র স্বেচ্ছাসেবকরা কাজ করে যাবে। আমাদের আশা ক্রমান্বয়ে এই সংখ্যা আরো বাড়াবো।

    Sagorika_15

    সাগরিকা, ১৫, অষ্টম শ্রেনীতে পড়ছে। তার সর্বশেষ ফলাফল জিপিএ-৪.৫ ; ওর মা গার্মেন্টস কর্মী লুৎফা রানা প্লাজা ধ্বসের ঘটনায় মারাত্মকভাবে আহত হয়েছেন।

    Shefali_13

    শিউলি, ১৩, পড়ছে সপ্তম শ্রেনীতে; তার ফলাফল জিপিএ-৩.৮; ওর মা ঝর্না ঘটনার দিন থেকে নিখোঁজ।

    Sonia_10

    ১০ বছর বয়সী সোনিয়া প্রাথমিক সমাপনীতে জিপিএ ৪.৮ পেয়েছে। ভবনধ্বসে তার মা তাহমিনা এখনও নিখোঁজ।

    এই শিশুদের শিক্ষাব্যয় মিটাতে প্রায় ২ লক্ষ টাকা প্রয়োজন যার মধ্যে এখন পর্যন্ত প্রায় ১ লক্ষ টাকা যোগাড় করা সম্ভব হয়েছে।

    ‘আমরা’র যেভাবে শুরুঃ ২৮শে ফেব্রুয়ারি যুদ্ধাপরাধী জামায়াত নেতা দেলাওয়ার হোসেন সাঈদীর বিরুদ্ধে ফাঁসির রায় হবার পর তার সমর্থকরা সারাদেশে কয়েকদিন ধরে তান্ডব চালায়। তাদের হামলা, ভাংচুর, অগ্নিসংযোগ আর নির্যাতনের শিকার হয় অনেক দরিদ্র সাধারন খেটে-খাওয়া মানুষও। সবচেয়ে ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত ও অবহেলিত মানুষদের পাশে দাঁড়াতে ‘আমরা’র স্বেচ্ছাসেবীরা দেশের তিনটি জেলার প্রায় ৫০টি পরিবারের মধ্যে অর্থ, কাপড় ও খাবার সরবরাহ করে। বেশিরভাগ ক্ষেত্রেই দেখা যায়, সরকারি বা বেসরকারি কোন ধরনের সাহায্য ক্ষতিগ্রস্তরা তখনো পাননি।

    মার্চের শেষদিকে ব্রাক্ষ্মনবাড়িয়ার আখাউড়াতে টর্নেডোর ভয়াবহতায় ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত শতাধিক পরিবারের মধ্যে সাময়িক সহযোগিতাস্বরূপ শুকনো খাবার, কাপড় ও নগদ অর্থ বিতরন করে ‘আমরা’।

    আর এসবই সম্ভব হয়েছে আমাদের বন্ধু-শুভানুধ্যায়িদের আর্থিক ও মানবিক সহযোগিতার কারনে।

    সর্বশেষ, রানা প্লাজার ভয়াবহতার পরপর ‘আমরা’র স্বেচ্ছাসেবীরা উদ্ধার-কার্যক্রমে এবং বিভিন্ন হাসপাতালে আহতদের চিকিৎসায় সর্বোচ্চ সহযোগিতায় কাজ করেছেন। পাশাপাশি, আহত শ্রমিক এবং নিহত ও নিখোঁজদের পরিবারের সদস্যদের নিয়ে ‘মুক্ততারুন্য’ নামের আরেকটি সংগঠনকে সাথে নিয়ে গড়ে তোলা হয় ‘অপরাজেয়’ – একটা ব্যাগের কারখানা যেখানে প্রায় ৩০জন শ্রমিক কাজ করেন। এই কারখানাকে সম্প্রসারন করতে ২০ লক্ষ টাকা প্রয়োজন, যার জন্য এখন ‘আমরা’ কাজ করছে।

    টাকা পাঠাতে যোগাযোগ করুন প্রবীর কুমার সরকার; বিকাশ করুন# +৮৮০১৭১৯১৯৩৯৩৯; স্ট্যান্ডার্ড চার্টার্ড ব্যাংক একাউন্ট# ১৮১১৫৫৪৮৯০১।

    এছাড়াও বিদেশ থেকে টাকা পাঠাতে মানিগ্রামওয়েষ্টার্ন ইউনিয়নের সাহায্য নিন।

    ‘আমরা’Amra: “বাংলার প্রতি প্রান্তে, জাগ্রত, জনতার সাথে”

     

     

    Amra: Call for Contribution towards the Victims of Rana Plaza Collapse

    Since its inception in early March 2013, voluntary organisation ‘Amra’ has been working relentlessly to support poor and distressed people who are victimised by natural calamities, accidents and political violence with the contribution of people from different strata at home and abroad.

    So far, ‘Amra’ has distributed money and aid worth over Tk10 lakh among the distressed people who were at a loss after the violent attacks of communal forces in March; devastating tornado in Brahmanbaria the same month and the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013 that killed at least 1,133 garment workers.

    ‘Amra’ volunteers engaged themselves in the rescue work and at hospitals to support the injured and their families. After the end of salvage operation, the ‘Amra’ volunteers worked on a list of missing workers of the factories housed in the faulty building.

    Since the government support is not time-befitting and adequate, ‘Amra’ selected 15 most affected families as per a list prepared after scrutiny, and at different times, bought them milking cows, rickshaws and small shops so that they could survive with minimum earnings.

    The organisation has also contribution in founding a jute and fabric bag factory Oporajeo in Savar where 30 affected workers of the Rana Plaza garments factories work. We provide them with the highest wages, free lunch and monthly bonus from the profits with a view to set an example of ideal business firm.

    ‘Amra’ also took the responsibility of 37 children of the affected families to support their academic activities. To that end, ‘Amra’ has been providing them with everything needed for studies – fees, uniform, stationary items – except for the books that are distributed free at cost by the government.

    After successfully completing their year finals, the children are now enrolling in the next classes, and to let them continue their fight against illiteracy and poverty, ‘Amra’ is pledge-bound to keep supporting them in the future too.

    So, ‘Amra’ is now raising funds to bear their expenses for year 2014.

    ‘Amra’ has also planned to increase the number of beneficiary children and families as it believes that the condition of ultra poor people could be changed through collective approach.

    ‘Amra’ also believes that the future programs of the organisation would be successful like the previous days with the cordial cooperation of humanists and philanthropic organisations.

    For donations and information, please contact Probir Kumar Sarker; send money through bKash# +8801719193939; Standard Chartered Bank, account# 18115548901. Those staying abroad can also send money through Western Union or Moneygram.

    Amra – Volunteers for the Victims

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  • probirbidhan 16:57 on November 3, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: BRAC, education, , health, , , ,   

    The Economist now shifts stance on Bangladesh! 

    The ECONOMIST, November 3, 2012

    IN 1976, five years after independence, a book appeared called “Bangladesh: The Test Case of Development”. It was a test, the authors claimed, because the country was such a disaster that if development could be made to work there, it could surely work anywhere. At the time, many people feared Bangladesh would not survive as an independent state. One famine, three military coups and four catastrophic floods later, the country that Henry Kissinger once dismissed as “a basket case” is still a test. But no longer in the sense of being the bare minimum that others should seek to surpass. Now, Bangladesh has become a standard for others to live up to.

    The world in figures: Countries: Bangladesh

    অকার্যকর রাজনীতি সত্ত্বেও বাংলাদেশ উন্নতি করছে

    Bangladesh made major progress

    As our briefing points out (see article), in the past 20 years Bangladesh has made extraordinary improvements in almost every indicator of human welfare. The average Bangladeshi can now expect to live four years longer than the average Indian, though Indians are twice as rich. Girls’ education has soared, and the country has hugely reduced the numbers of early deaths of infants, children and mothers. Some of these changes are among the fastest social improvements ever seen. Remarkably, the country has achieved all this even though economic growth, until recently, has been sluggish and income has risen only modestly.

    In this section

    Bangladesh might seem like a special case. Because of its poverty, it has long been a recipient of vast amounts of aid. With around 150m people crammed into a silted delta frequently swept by cyclones and devastating floods, it is the most densely populated country on Earth outside city states. Hardly any part is isolated by distance, tradition or ethnicity, making it easier for anti-poverty programmes to reach everyone. Unusually, it has a culture that is distinct from its religion: although most Bangladeshis are Muslims, their culture and language are shared with the non-Muslim Indian state of West Bengal. Religious opposition to social change has been mild. Not many nationalities have so unusual a collection of traits.

    The female factor

    That said, the most important of the country’s achievements can serve as a model for others. Bangladesh shows what happens if you take women seriously as agents of development. When the country became independent, population-control policies were all the rage (this was the period of China’s one-child policy and India’s forced sterilisations). Happily lacking the ability to impose such savage restrictions, the government embarked instead upon a programme of voluntary family planning. It was stunningly successful. It not only halved the rate of fertility within a generation, but also increased women’s influence within their own households. For the first time, wives controlled the size of families.

    Later, the textile industry took off—and four-fifths of its workers are female. Bangladesh was also the home of microcredit, tiny loans for the poorest. By design, these go to women. Thus, over the past two decades women have earned greater influence in the home and more financial autonomy. And, as experience from round the world shows, women spend their money differently from men: typically, on their children’s food, health and education. Child welfare has been underpinned by a quiet revolution in the role of women.

    That is not all there was to it. Thanks to remittances from abroad and to the Green Revolution, Bangladesh has done better than most at reducing persistent rural poverty. It has maintained a broad consensus in favour of basic social spending despite military coups and a toxic politics dominated by the bitter infighting of the “battling begums” (the widow and daughter of former presidents, who lead the two main parties). Bangladesh has also benefited by letting non-governmental organisations (NGOs) get on with what the state itself has been too weak or corrupt to do: experiment with different programmes and scale up those that work. Much of its success is attributable to local NGOs like Grameen and BRAC.

    Bangladesh has shown that countries can transform the lives of the poorest without having to wait for economic growth. But it does not show that growth is irrelevant. The country would surely have done better still if its economy had expanded faster, as it could have done. As people’s education and expectations rise further, it will be all the more important to provide new jobs and opportunities for advancement.

    Delta force

    Moreover, Bangladesh’s achievements remain vulnerable to political interference. The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, is vindictively meddling with Grameen Bank, removing its boss and trying to impose her own choice upon the institution’s shareholders—all to punish its founder, Muhammad Yunus, for daring to think of setting up a political party. She is sending a chilling effect through the country. Bangladesh has become a model of what can be done, despite her government’s corrupt, poisonous politics. It would be a tragedy if it once again became an example of what not to do.

    The path through the fields

    Villagers are doing it for themselves

    ON THE outskirts of the village of Shibaloy, just past the brick factory, the car slows to let a cow lumber out of its way. It is a good sign. Twenty years ago there was no brick factory, or any other industry, in this village 60 kilometres west of Dhaka; there were few cows, and no cars. The road was a raised path too narrow for anything except bicycles.

    Now, Shibaloy has just opened its first primary school; it is installing piped water and the young men of the village gather to show off their motorcycles at the tea house. “I have been a microcredit customer for 17 years,” says Romeja, the matriarch of an extended family. “When I started, my house was broken; I slept on the streets. Now I have three cows, an acre of land, solar panels on the roof and 75,000 taka ($920) in fixed-rate deposits.”

    Bangladesh was the original development “basket case”, the demeaning term used in Henry Kissinger’s state department for countries that would always depend on aid. Its people are crammed onto a flood plain swept by cyclones and without big mineral and other natural resources. It suffered famines in 1943 and 1974 and military coups in 1975, 1982 and 2007. When it split from Pakistan in 1971 many observers doubted that it could survive as an independent state.

    In some ways, those who doubted Bangladesh’s potential were right. Economic growth since the 1970s has been poor; the country’s politics have been unremittingly wretched. Yet over the past 20 years, Bangladesh has made some of the biggest gains in the basic condition of people’s lives ever seen anywhere. Between 1990 and 2010 life expectancy rose by 10 years, from 59 to 69 (see chart 1). Bangladeshis now have a life expectancy four years longer than Indians, despite the Indians being, on average, twice as rich. Even more remarkably, the improvement in life expectancy has been as great among the poor as the rich.

    Bangladesh has also made huge gains in education and health. More than 90% of girls enrolled in primary school in 2005, slightly more than boys. That was twice the female enrolment rate in 2000. Infant mortality has more than halved, from 97 deaths per thousand live births in 1990 to 37 per thousand in 2010 (see table). Over the same period child mortality fell by two-thirds and maternal mortality fell by three-quarters. It now stands at 194 deaths per 100,000 births. In 1990 women could expect to live a year less than men; now they can expect to live two years more.

    The most dramatic period of improvement in human health in history is often taken to be that of late-19th-century Japan, during the remarkable modernisation of the Meiji transition. Bangladesh’s record on child and maternal mortality has been comparable in scale.

    These improvements are not a simple result of increases in people’s income. Bangladesh remains a poor country, with a GDP per head of $1,900 at purchasing-power parity.

    For the first decades of its independent history Bangladesh’s economy grew by a paltry 2% a year. Since 1990 its GDP has been rising at a more respectable 5% a year, in real terms. That has helped reduce the percentage of people below the poverty line from 49% in 2000 to 32% in 2010. Still, Bangladeshi growth has been slower than India’s, which for most of the past 20 years grew at around 8% a year. Nevertheless the gains in its development have been greater. The belief that growth brings development with it—the “Washington consensus”—is often criticised on the basis that some countries have had good growth but little poverty reduction. Bangladesh embodies the inverse of that: it has had disproportionate poverty reduction for its amount of growth.

    How has it done it?

    Four main factors explain this surprising success. First, family planning has empowered women. If you leave aside city states, Bangladesh is the world’s most densely populated country. At independence, its leaders decided that they had to restrain further population growth (China’s one-child policy and India’s forced sterilisation both date from roughly the same time). Fortunately, Bangladesh’s new government lacked the power to be coercive. Instead, birth control was made free and government workers and volunteers fanned out across the country to distribute pills and advice. In 1975, 8% of women of child-bearing age were using contraception (or had partners who were); in 2010 the number was over 60% (see chart 2).

    In 1975 the total fertility rate (the average number of children a woman can expect to have during her lifetime) was 6.3. In 1993 it was 3.4. After stalling, it resumed its fall in 2000. After one of the steepest declines in history the fertility rate is now just 2.3, slightly above the “replacement level” at which the population stabilises in the long term. When Bangladesh and Pakistan split in 1971, they each had a population of 65m or so. Bangladesh’s is now around 150m; Pakistan’s is almost 180m.

    Because of this Bangladesh is about to reap a “demographic dividend”; the number of people entering adulthood will handsomely exceed the number of children being born, increasing the share of the total population that works.

    In giving women better health and more autonomy, family planning was one of a number of factors that improved their lot, and by so doing did much to reduce poverty. The spread of primary education was one of the others (the government has been better than many at helping women this way); the proportion of girls who get schooled has increased much more than the proportion of boys. And both the boom in the textile industry and the arrival of microcredit have, over the past 20 years, put money into women’s pockets—from which it is more likely to be spent on health, education and better food.

    Second, Bangladesh managed to restrain the fall in rural household incomes that usually increases extreme poverty in developing countries. Between 1971 and 2010 the rice harvest more than trebled, though the area under cultivation increased by less than 10%. This year the country once supposedly doomed to dependence on food aid could be a small exporter of rice. One-sixth of the population remains undernourished, which is a blight; but it is an improvement on 20 years ago, when more than a third of the population was underweight or stunted.

    Yield alone is not the whole story. The new crops of the Green Revolution allowed rice growers to move to two harvests a year. The rice of the Ganges delta used to be monsoon, or aman, rice; it was planted before the annual rains and harvested after. Now boro rice, planted and harvested in winter, is the main crop. For people just above the poverty line, the sort of event most likely to plunge them into extreme poverty is a sudden external shock, such as an illness or a harvest failure. By expanding the winter crop, boro rice reduces the risk of a harvest failing in a way that shocks a household into abject poverty. Between 2007 and 2012 Bangladesh went through three global food-price spikes and two cyclones. Almost everyone expected a spike in poverty to follow. It did not.

    The villages have also found resources from beyond agriculture—and, indeed, beyond Bangladesh. Around 6m Bangladeshis work abroad, mostly in the Middle East, and they remit a larger share of the national income than any other big country gets from migrants. In the year ending in June 2012 they sent back $13 billion, about 14% of annual income—more than all the government’s social-protection programmes put together. The majority of migrant workers send their remittances back to family members in the village they came from. Because emigrants are more likely to come from better off families, those families benefit most. But knock-on effects on rural wages benefit landless labourers. The World Bank calculates that between 2000 and 2010, real agricultural wages rose 59%, compared with 42% for all sectors. Most countries have seen a reduction in rural living standards, and a resultant increase in extreme poverty. Bangladesh has not.

    Remittances and family planning have not attacked extreme poverty directly. That is where the government comes in.

    Bangladesh comes 120th (out of 183) on the “corruption perceptions index” kept by Transparency International, a think-tank in Berlin. It has had episodes of military rule interrupting periods of democracy in which the “battling begums” (daughter and widow of two early presidents) engaged in a sort of Judy and Judy show of vicious political infighting.

    Yet despite the political circus, the country’s elite has maintained a consensus in favour of social programmes. Bangladesh spends a little more than most low-income countries on helping the poor. About 12% of public spending (1.8% of GDP) goes on social safety-nets to protect the poorest: food for work, cash transfers and direct feeding programmes, which most poor countries do not have. As well as spending more on the poor, the state also focuses more than many on the role of women.

    That said, the amounts that go on education (2.2% of GDP) and health (3.5%) in Bangladesh are below the average for low-income countries. And even that spending might well have been wasted but for one further influence: the extraordinary role played by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the country. Without the state’s schools, clinics and cash-transfer schemes, says Rehman Sobhan, the head of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, a think-tank, other interventions would not work. It is the things which NGOs do, though, that make Bangladesh’s way of fighting poverty unique.

    BRAC (which originally stood for Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee, but now is the only name the organisation needs) invented the idea of microcredit, that is, tiny loans to the destitute. Then another NGO, Grameen Bank, made them work by targeting them on women and holding weekly meetings of borrowers who would identify and support anyone who was falling behind on repayments. Their growth since has been explosive. Grameen has 8.4m borrowers and outstanding loans of over $1 billion; BRAC has 5m borrowers and loans of $725m. The poor account for roughly a fifth of the total loan portfolio of the country, an unusually high proportion.

    Since their establishment, microcredits have spread around the world. Their benefits have been both exaggerated and attacked. The backlash has shown that microcredits have not, as some claimed, led to a surge of entrepreneurial activity. In some cases they have left borrowers worse off than before. Their impact in the land of their birth, though, has been mostly positive. Mohammad Razzaque of Dhaka University looked at two groups of people with similar incomes and household assets, one of which contained regular borrowers from a variety of microfinance institutions and the other of which did not, to see whether microcredit helped. Among the first group the poverty rate fell ten percentage points, from 78% in 1998 to 68% in 2004. Among the second, poverty still fell, but only half as much, from 75% to 70%.

    The magic ingredient

    The real magic of Bangladesh, though, was not microfinance but BRAC—and NGOs more generally. The government of Bangladesh has been unusually friendly to NGOs, perhaps because, to begin with, it realised it needed all the help it could get.

    BRAC began life distributing emergency aid in a corner of eastern Bangladesh after the war of independence. It is now the largest NGO in the world by the number of employees and the number of people it has helped (three-quarters of all Bangladeshis have benefited in one way or another). Unlike Grameen, which is mainly a microfinance and savings operation, BRAC does practically everything. In the 1980s it sent out volunteers to every household in the country showing mothers how to mix salt, sugar and water in the right proportions to rehydrate a child suffering from diarrhoea. This probably did more to lower child mortality in the country than anything else. BRAC and the government jointly ran a huge programme to inoculate every Bangladeshi against tuberculosis. BRAC’s primary schools are a safety net for children who drop out of state schools. BRAC even has the world’s largest legal-aid programme: there are more BRAC legal centres than police stations in Bangladesh.

    The scale is a response to one of the biggest challenges of development: that solving one problem leads to others. This happens in economic development as well as the social kind. In the 1950s South Korea’s Samsung had a big woollen mill. It found that to expand, it had to make its own textile machinery; then, to export, it built its own ships; and so on. Samsung now has around 80 companies and is the world’s largest information-technology firm. BRAC is a sort of chaebol (South Korean conglomerate)for social development. It began with microcredit, but found its poor clients could not sell the milk and eggs produced by the animals they had bought. So BRAC got into food processing. When it found the most destitute were too poor for micro-loans, it set up a programme which gave them animals. Now it runs dairies, a packaging business, a hybrid-seed producer, textile plants and its own shops—as well as schools for dropouts, clinics and sanitation plants.

    The innovative NGO now has 100,000 health volunteers with mobile phones (mobile-phone coverage is widespread in Bangladesh). When a volunteer finds a woman is pregnant, she texts the mother-to-be with advice on prenatal and, later, postnatal care. This is helping BRAC build up a database of maternal and child-health patterns in remote villages.

    BRAC goes out of its way to involve everyone. When it set up a programme for the ultra-poor in Shibaloy, the whole village gathered to decide who should be eligible. They drew a map of the households in the dirt so everyone could see who was involved and ensure that nobody was missed (the same process, in a different village, is pictured below). BRAC argues that such things encourage a sense of ownership of the programmes and reduces waste and corruption.

    A balance-sheet

    Bangladesh still has formidable problems. Its nutritional standards are low and stalled for a few years in the early 2000s. While the government has managed to increase school enrolment, the quality of education is abysmal and the drop-out rate exceptionally high (only 60% of pupils complete primary school, much less than the regional average). Only a quarter of eleven-year-olds have reached the required standards of literacy and numeracy.

    Most of the big improvements have taken place in rural areas, but Bangladesh is urbanising fast, which will bring a different suite of problems. Dhaka is one of the ten largest cities in the world, but has the infrastructure of a one-buffalo town.

    Villagers are doing it for themselves

    And as if all that were not enough, the government seems intent on killing one of the geese that lays the golden eggs. Incensed that the founder of Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, should have had the temerity to start a political party, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, has hounded him from his position as the bank’s managing director and is seeking to impose her own choice of boss on the bank, overriding the interests of the owner-borrowers. This is sending a chilling signal to other NGOs.

    But Bangladesh’s record is, on balance, a good one. It shows that the benefits of making women central to development are huge. It suggests that migration is not just the result of a failure to provide jobs at home but can be an engine of economic growth. Indian’s rural-development minister, Jairam Ramesh, said recently that “Bangladesh’s experience shows…that we don’t have to wait for…high economic growth to trigger social transformations. Robust grass-roots institutions can achieve much that money can’t buy.”

    Bangladesh is still poor and crowded. With the lowest labour costs in the world (textile workers make about $35 a month) it should be growing faster than China, not more slowly than India. It is badly governed, stifled by red tape and faces severe environmental problems. But in terms of the success of its grass-roots development, it has lessons for the world.

    Recent Stories by The Economist:

    Ship breaking in Bangladesh: Hard to break up

    Bangladesh: Troubled waters

    Our articles on Bangladesh: The government of Bangladesh responds

    Ethnic cleansing in Myanmar: A bloody road to apartheid

    Ethnic cleansing in Myanmar: No place like home

    Banyan: Unforgiving history

    Running elections in Bangladesh: Generally trusted

    Small companies in poor countries: Looking for a Google

    Maritime disputes: Make law, not war

    Ethnic fissures in Assam: Killing for a homeland

    Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingyas: No place like home

    Bangladesh’s toxic politics: Hello, Delhi

    Politics in Bangladesh: Banged about

    Ramadan in pictures: Fasting and feasting

     

     

     

     
  • probirbidhan 22:54 on May 16, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: , development, education, education system, , mismanagement in government, nuclear, , ,   

    Pakistan needs to stress education 

    M IBRAHIM TARIQLahore

    Pakistan Today May 16, 2012

    The gateway to a country’s success is undoubtedly education. It is what enlightens and boosts the country’s economy, sovereignty and development.

    Malaysia is a worthy example. It has dragged itself into the category of the developed. The education has been so wisely promoted that the literacy rate has flown up to 95 percent. This is why their economy and development has expanded greatly by the years.

    We have got so much to blame, but the Indians who became independent right along with Pakistan, are seeing great prosperity. They have population problems, but alongside that, they keep on promoting their education sector. They can’t be called fully developed, but they have improvised their financial status using the education and skills. They now are a nuclear power, have a reasonable tourist industry and an extremely successful film industry. It is the education that has done everything.

    It has been a lengthy discussion, but the best example is yet to come and is that of Bangladesh. They were a part of us in 1971. We lost them and are still crying over the spilled milk. But they instead have promoted the education sector immensely. Schools have been built for everyone with equal opportunity for the rich and the poor. This is why that today they have got quite ahead of us. They have a better currency value and a better GDP growth rate.

    We have untapped oil and gas reserves under the barren mountains of Baloshistan, and we have coal estimated 175 billion tons, under the sands of Sindh. We have everything but the problem is that we don’t have the key – that is education.

    In Pakistan, two education systems are running parallel to each other – the Cambridge and the Matriculation. I find this the primary cause of lack of equal opportunity of education for everyone here in Pakistan.

    The government schools for the lower and the lower middle class mostly offer Matriculation. These schools are mostly in a neglected and ruined state. Here, the students aren’t even facilitated with basic requirements including books, and furniture.

    To be honest the teachers come just for killing time and are focused upon their income instead of fulfilling the basic purpose of teaching. Children should be entitled to great care, security and a good upbringing. They should always be treated with respect and love, but here they are treated with inhumane punishments and humiliating treatment. This mismanagement in government schools have caused the children of the ones with a lower budget to lack behind in terms of education.

    The Cambridge system is ostensibly for the upper class. The rich think of nothing less than famous privately owned schools, which teach according to the Cambridge system. Here, the children aren’t given strenuous punishments, but are treated as ‘lords’. This causes the children to become arrogant and give less importance to studies, which is a great cause of this predicament.

    As said before, education is everything for a country to survive. We need to cover this massive gap between the rich and the poor. Education should be equally available to everyone. We must improve the standard of education and must standardise the present infrastructure instead of introducing new and ostentatious programs. The children of leaders and the servants should study together.

    Most importantly, there should be a single education system, and the teachers should be hired for their teaching skills and not their references from famous personalities. The teachers should also treat the children as their own, and with love and affection. Promoting education and improving its standards is intensively required in Pakistan. We have the capacity to beat the developed and even the so called ‘super powers’.

     
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