From Day One since its establishment on 16 December, 1998, VAB has been devoted to high school education in rural Bangladesh, promoting both quantity and quality. In its work for the past 22 years, it succeeded in both the goals remarkably. Improvement in “quantity” is evidenced by higher rate of enrollment, attendance, and importantly, by outstanding pass rates in JSC and SSC exams. Improvement in “quality” is reflected in higher performance of graduates in JSC and SSC exams (earning letter grades A+, A and A-), and amazing accomplishments of rural students in computer skills, as well as debating, English and Math skills application, demonstrated in local, regional and national competitions. Over the 22 years, VAB carried out field-level work with more than hundred rural schools in various parts of the country, received input from them, processed such inputs with their own search and research, and devised innovative low-cost and replicable measures to enhance the quality of education, tested the measures and refined them. The book incorporates an account of VAB’s pursuit of quality education in rural Bangladesh and presents a “manual” of the inter-related and integrated measures,collectively called “the VAB Model”, applicable in all high schools of the country, particularly the rural ones.
Following the guidance provided in the National Education Policy, VAB defined “quality” as enhancement of Learning, Competence and Citizenship. The greatest obstacle VAB faced, as commonly recognized, was scarcity of resources. So, VAB’s bold efforts were devoted to finding ways to augment scarce resources, and get optimal benefits out of limited resources. The innovative thinking of VAB, spearheaded by the Country Director, bore fruit. VAB found “hidden” resources in rural environment (openness, school having a playground, etc.), as well as in rural human endowment (relative abundance, in parents, of respect for the elders, teachers and authority; in students, of obedience, self-reliance, and strength in struggle for life). VAB inputted such resources in its measures. In innovative ways, VAB also optimized the outputs from the limited resources – by re-imagining education as student and learner-centered; by re-imagining teachers and mentors as guides and facilitators; by re-imaging teaching and training as can be provided by students themselves); in short, by re-imagining rural schools. The innovative measures are reflected in the Group Method of Learning/Teaching in classrooms and beyond; in teachers’ training of new pedagogy, training their substitutes among students, and self-training; in Student Clubs with Leadership Groups of students which can provide training and mentoring to other students; etc. The book is a chronicle of such effective initiatives, which VAB believes, can be applied by any rural high school.
VAB thinks, with humility indeed, the book as a “Manual” can go a long way in solving the problem of quality education which is plaguing the country now. VAB invites everyone interested in quality education, particularly educationists, policy thinkers and makers, and funding agencies, to read the book. VAB is making the electronic version of the book available, free of cost, to Headmasters of as many rural schools of Bangladesh as possible, starting with the schools VAB has been working with. This is to encourage them to apply the measures in their respective schools. Any queries about the book or its availability may be directed to Dr. Jasimuz Zaman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Quality Education for Rural Bangladesh