Staff Correspondent
Bangladesh will have to come up with more investment in the education sector, especially at primary level, in order to ensure quality education, said World Bank in its global report published on Wednesday.
Besides, it also urged the country to improve labour market responsiveness and accountability for graduate employment. And the country needs to invest in development of teachers as well as modern learning approaches.
Apart from these, the WB also attached importance to high-order thinking, soft skills, ICT knowledge, and strengthening industry partnership to ensure quality jobs for all.
Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in gender parity among few other lower-and middle-income countries in school enrolment with more girls in school than boys.
Robert J Saum, acting country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, said while presenting the ‘World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realise Education’s Promises’ organised in collaboration with the Lego Foundation at a city hotel.
He said the country has potential to create a globally competitive workforce by investing in education.
“Bangladesh’s share of public spending on education is lower than the South Asian average and about half of Malaysia’s share of spending on education,” Saum said adding that but it’s not just about the overall spending, it’s also about how spending is being used.”
He mentioned systematically measuring whether schooling is translating into learning is critical for ensuring that education spending is effective.
Despite Bangladesh is remarkable success in bringing nearly all children to primary school, the education quality remains a concern, WB report says.
Many young students in Bangladesh, as in other low and middle-income countries, find it hard to get good jobs because they leave the education system without required skills to read, write or do basic math.
The country should address this learning crisis by investing more in education and investing more effectively, a World Bank report said.
The World Development Report 2018: ‘Learning to Realize Education’s Promise’, presented, shows that schooling is not the same as learning.
In Bangladesh, children can expect to get around 11 years of schooling, but they lose about 4.5 of these due to the poor quality of schooling.
For example, 35 percent of grade 3 students scored too low to even be tested on reading comprehension in Bangla, and only 25 percent of grade 5 students in the country passed the minimum threshold in math.
The key factors behind this are: lack of access to early childhood development programs, low quality of teaching practices, challenges related to poor school management, and low levels of overall spending on public education.
World Bank Senior Director for Education Jaime Saavedra said “A big reason why schooling does not translate into learning is because in many countries there is a need for continued strengthening of investment in young children.”
He said. “Children from poor and vulnerable groups are left behind as early as 6 months of age as they do not have the right nutrition and the right stimulation.
These shortcomings have a large impact as children grow older, Saavedra said adding that, quality early childhood development programs are fundamental and vital investments for Bangladesh to tackle the learning crisis.
The report gives three recommendations: assess learning to keep track of progress; improve school systems by attracting high-quality teachers, improving the teaching and learning process and motivating children to come to school; and use data on learning to mobilize all stakeholders – from the private sector to policymakers and parents – to improve quality of learning for a more vibrant and skilled workforce in the future.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said the government has ensured 100 percent school’s enrolment in the country since 2012.
“We are now heading towards quality education,” he added.
He said the government has maddened attractive for children in the primary stage.
The government has been distributing free books at primary and secondary level for the last 9 years, he mentioned.
Two lakh teachers have been appointed in the last one year; he said adding that, the budget has increased 5 times in the education sector in the last eight years.
For ensuring quality education, the budget will be gradually increased more, he mentioned.