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Collaborative efforts needed to prevent dropout of slum dwelling students

Good governance and fairness in need-based financial support is required to reduce the rate of school dropouts in secondary level and ensure quality education to students in city slums, according to a survey report released on Wednesday.

The report also called for a focus on development works in urban slums and alternative learning opportunities for students living there.

Development organisation Plan International Bangladesh, with the support of Research and Development Collective (RDC) came up with this recommendation while presenting the baseline survey report titled “Reducing School Dropout in Urban Slums of Bangladesh: Impact of COVID-19”, on Wednesday.

The study was conducted over 40 schools and a total of 673 households of students from different grades in Dhaka South City Corporation from December 2020 to March 2021.

The report said, in spite of having a school management committee (SMC) only 27.5 per cent have a parents-teachers association and about 52 per cent have a school cabinet. It found a high rate of dropout in secondary schools, particularly among the girls in the urban slums.

The stakeholders think that this was primarily the responsibility of the parents to look after their studies at home and the stakeholders do not have any proactive role in decreasing the dropout.

SMC takes care of most affairs in school and they do not want any other entity to have any influence in the school matter, the report said.

It was found that long school closure has had an adverse impact on the students’ learning already. Besides government initiative, schools must plan on how they can take initiatives to address learning loss of the students.

The report suggests that financial and other support is necessary for the students as the schools have reopened. Schools should take the necessary step to ensure the admission of all students into the school. They should not impose the burden of backlog student fees and other charges which may cause them to drop out.

Prof. Dr. Syed Md. Golam Faruk, Director General – DSHE, addressed the findings sharing event as the chief guest.

He said that “Covid-19 came up with an unprecedented challenge in front of us. Our teachers and students were prepared for such a critical situation but we worked to ensure immediate response.”

Within one week of school closure, on-line classes were introduced to continue with education activities, he said.

Plan International Bangladesh Head of Central & Northern Region, Ashik Billah said, education officers, teachers and school management committee should discuss about school management, challenges and way forward at least once in three months.

School fees should be exempted for students from urban slums, rural areas, especially those who are from the families in financial crisis, as their income has been challenged due to Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

The discussants said, to keep students in the classroom, the infrastructural development of the schools is required. Especially, the hygiene management facilities for girls need to be ensured as this creates challenges for girls to attend schools. Firm action is needed to stop violence against children.

Source: United News of Bangladesh