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Sweeping Performance of VAB Schools in Sports

These VAB schools are mostly disadvantaged rural schools, and did not have any culture of sports and athletics in the past worth noting. Particularly for girl students, it was inconceivable to have a Girls’ Team in any sport, specifically, team sports like Cricket and Football (Soccer).These schools competed with the urban schools and the relatively well-off rural schools in the upazila. One of the high-performing schools, Kathalbaria AG Secondary School, was devastated by the recent cyclone “Bulbul”, and for a long period after the cyclone, students had to attend open air classes.

When VAB started working with these schools in the early- to mid-2010s, one of its programs focused on co-curricular activities aiming to create a dynamic and improved learning environment which is expected to lead to excellence in academic performance. Sports, along with debating, English and volunteering, are the areas where VAB Students’ Clubs are now active vigorously.

In the National Competition, Kathalbaria was Champion in Boys’ Cricket, and Runner-Up in Girls’ Cricket, Girls’ Volleyball, and Girls’ Badminton Singles and Doubles. Safirunnessa Girls’ High School won the Championship in Girls’ Cricket, Volleyball, Basketball, and Badminton Singles and Doubles. Other VAB schools which were successful are TripaniBidyapith (Champion in Boys’ Volleyball and Runner-Up in Boys’ Cricket), and BhuruliaNagbatiSecondary School (Runner-Up in Boys’ Volleyball).

The success of VAB schools was equally impressive in Track and Field Events. Safirunnessa which is an older school and has been with VAB since 2012 accomplished in an outstanding manner in the past three years. This time, it swept the top positions in Girls competition in “Ka Division” in 100 and 200 Meter Runs, Long Jump, Shot Put and Javelin Throw and in “Kha Division” in 200 Meter Run, Long Jump and High Jump. ZobedaShohrab Model High School took the First Position in Girls’ 100 Meter Run in the “Kha Division”.

In the Boys’ Competition, Kathalbaria was First in 100 Meter Run and Long Jump in the “Ka Division”, and in 100 Meter Run in the “Kha Division”. The First Position was taken by Henchi Bangabandhu Secondary School in Shot Put in both “Ka” and “Kha Divisions”, and by Bhurulia in Discus Throw.

VAB schools holding top positions at the upazila level will move to the district level. However, disadvantaged rural schools face hindrances, particularly due to lack of resources. There is an additional impediment for girl students – many parents are reluctant to allow girls to travel away from home.

 VAB’s Annual Board Meeting Takes Landmark Decisions
The Meeting was presided over by Dr. Delwar Hussain, the first Chairman of VAB Board of Directors. At the meeting, the Board took a number of landmark decisions, the most prominent of which is approving the retirement of VAB’s Founder and President since its inception in 1998, Dr. Abu T. Rafiqur Rahman, in late 2021. The current Executive Vice President, Mr. M Nurul Alam, will take over the helm of the Organization. The Meeting also formed a new 16-member Board of Directors for a 4-year term, 2019-2023, with renowned community leader, industrialist and humanitarian Mr. Syed Zaki Hossain as the Chairman and eminent physician and philanthropist Dr. Fazlur R Chowdhury as the Vice Chairman. The Board initiated a new group of Associate Directors consisting of 8 young professionals. The Board also approved two Trustees from the USA for its Trust in Bangladesh, which has a central role in assuring financial stability for the future sustainability of the Organization. No major decisions about the Trust Fund can be taken without the concurrence of the US Trustees.

The VAB Board reiterated the focus of VAB’s work for quality education of high school students in rural Bangladesh, aiming for the objectives of improving learning, enhancing competence, and developing character. The Board also urged for intensified fundraising for achieving the objectives in rural schools at a wider scale.

The Board concluded its meeting with a vote of thanks for those who attended the Meeting as well as for its retiring Directors including the first Chairman of its Board, Dr. Delwar Hussain who retired after serving for eight years.
About VAB
VAB was established in 1998 by Non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) in the USA, led by Dr. A. T. Rafiqur Rahman to help the poorest children in rural Bangladesh to gain quality education and skills training. VAB raises funds from NRBs and their American friends through its head office in New York and implements programs on quality secondary education in Bangladesh through its office in Dhaka. VAB is a non-profit charity registered in New York and Bangladesh.

VAB supports Bangladesh’s public and secular education system. Individual programs have been developed within the framework of a multi-faceted and integrated Model for Quality Education in Rural Bangladesh, commonly known as the VAB Model. Individual programs include scholarships and tutoring help to students, teachers’ training, providing school equipment, and promoting linkages between schools and local communities. The programs in the Model improve test scores, lower dropout rates, and ultimately provide opportunities to obtain a better standard of living for students. VAB scholarship holders have shown success in accessing further studies and gaining employment both in Bangladesh and abroad.

VAB works in partnership with rural high schools, teachers, parents, community members, students and former students to create purpose, community ownership and an active desire to improve the quality of education children receive.


VAB Retreat on Its Work and Future Sustainability

The Retreat was the brainchild of Mr. Mohammad Saleh, Vice Chair of VAB’s Board of Directors. After a presentation by VAB’s Country Director, Dr. Jasimuz Zaman, on VAB’s program on sustainable quality education in rural Bangladesh, the participants discussed the three issues central to VAB: its program, its finances and its organization. The first was moderated by Prof. M Nurul Alam, the second by Dr. Yousuf Rahman and the third by Dean Mohsin Patwary.

The Retreat came up with a number of suggestions or recommendations. We are drawing the attention of our readers to two of the most prominent recommendations. One is on VAB’s program: The empowerment program for sustainable quality education — empowering major stakeholders of rural education: students, teachers, schools and communities — was endorsed as VAB’s model program for the coming years.

The model ensures that, with five-year schooling from Grades VI to X, the students attain excellence in: Learning, Language Skills (Bangla and English), Digital Skills and Communication Skills. Over the past seven years, starting in 2012, VAB has been refining the model for maximum effectiveness at minimal costs. At this time, the cost of the program, based on work in a cluster of five schools in an upazila (sub-district) with 2,500 students, is only a meager five dollars per student per year for five years. Your contribution of one hundred dollars annually for five years can change the life of 20 disadvantaged rural boys and girls.

The other recommendation of the Retreat is on VAB’s finances: the critical need to build up the VAB Trust Fund to the level of 10 crore Tk (about $1,250,000) in the next five years for VAB’s long-term financial sustainability was acknowledged, and VAB’s donors are urged ardently to help VAB meet that need.

Excellence in Performance by Rural Schools in Bangladesh

VAB is dedicated to improvement in rural education. Among its multi-faceted and integrated set of measures, known as the VAB Model, aimed at this goal is the encouragement and incentive provided to rural students, teachers, schools and communities. Performance awards are given annually to best students, teachers, headmasters and schools.

On November 25, 2017, VAB celebrated the “Excellence in Performance of Rural High Schools in Bangladesh” in an Award Ceremony at a Dinner Event in Dhaka. The Chief Guest was the Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Mr. Fazle Kabir. Mr. Chowdhury Mufad Ahmed, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh, was present. Within the ministry, the responsibilities related to secondary education are entrusted to Mr. Ahmed. The high-profile ceremony was intended to be an inspirational and celebratory event to reward the strivings of stakeholders involved in rural education, a motivational endeavor stimulating stakeholders going forward and, at the same time, a venture to showcase the effectiveness of the novel blend of measures offered by VAB in the achievement of the goal of quality education.

Performance in eight categories was appraised on the basis of relevant documentary evidence and assessment of VAB staff visiting the VAB-partnered schools. Awards, totaling 34, were given to students, teachers, headmasters and schools:

  • Student: Excellence in Public Examination Results
  • Student: Most Outstanding Student
  • Teacher: Most Accomplished Teacher
  • Teacher: Most Enterprising Teacher
  • Headmaster: Most Successful Headmaster
  • Headmaster: Most Enterprising Headmaster
  • School: Attainment of Computer Skills by 100% of Students, Teachers and StaffSchool: Most Enterprising School

Addresses were given by the Chief Guest, the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Abul Kalam Rafiquzzaman, Upazila Education Officer of Shyamnagar, Satkhira, Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, Chair of the VAB Bangladesh Board of Advisors, Dr. Jasimuz Zaman, Country Director of VAB, Dr. Haroonur Rashid, Chair of the VAB Trust, Mr. Neaz Ahmed, Member of the VAB Board, and Ms. Pamelia Khaled, Founder and President of VAB Canada. The meeting also heard a video message from Dr. A T R Rahman, Founder and President of VAB. VAB is a unique NGO/Charity which was founded by Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) and is currently run by NRBs and Bangladeshis at home. Some of the award recipients and representatives of VAB-partnered schools also spoke.

The Governor of Bangladesh Bank stated that it was exceptional that VAB brought into focus the empowerment of all the stakeholders of rural education, and he thanked VAB for such an inclusive approach. He also noted that VAB is a real volunteer organization, a characterization made previously by Honorable Finance Minister, Mr. A.M. Abdul Muhith in his address as the Chief Guest at the 15th Anniversary Event in January 2015. The Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Education expressed great appreciation for the model approach used by VAB, saying that no other NGO in Bangladesh work with a model as the guiding instrument.

Among the attendees, there appeared to be a great interest in VAB, its dedication to quality education and its measures to that end, as well as its work with rural schools. Support for VAB was also forthcoming, including promise of increased financial support from the Bangladesh Bank and donation from VAB Canada and its President.

Report on the Award Ceremony for Excellence in Performance by Rural Schools in Bangladesh