Non formal education does not benefit poor unless their children spend 5 years in school. First, Gonopatshala in Savar was established in 1976. The aim of the Gonopatshala (People’s Schools) programme is to provide accessible and appropriate education for children, especially girl children from disadvantaged families and to increase the rates of literacy in the most marginalized and lowest income groups. The programme raises awareness of children’s rights and the benefits of alternative forms of education for working children, improving access to justice through an understanding of human rights and the potential for contributing to community development activities.
Over the time GK able to provide education opportunities by establishing 181 Gonopatshala for basic primary education in different parts of the country including isolated children of Hill Tract and Riverine Char areas from 2001-2006. The number of Gonopatshala has now been reduced to 11 due to end of donor funds. Gonopatshala now being registered with GOB to avail government funds for teachers salary, books etc as government registered schools.
At present GK is operating 11 in 6 districts of Bangladesh. GK also built 124 educational institutes to use as shelters during disaster to provide safe shelter from flood and cyclone.
The overall goal of the Gonopatshala Programme is to enable poor and marginalized children, especially girl children in Bangladesh to have access to basic primary education that is relevant to their needs.
To enable the children from the underserved communities and indigenous minorities in remotest and difficult to reach areas to have participatory quality primary education coupled with basic life-skills for improved living and overcoming poverty.
Geographical areas of 11 Gonopatshala:
Recruitment of female teachers
GK has chosen female teachers for recruitment on four basic criteria (1) dedicated and willing to extend motherly care to the children, and, adolescent girls, (2) more acceptable to children, adolescent and parents in isolated communities and (3) Willing to play key role for effective education and agreeable to teach even at night with the help of parents and solar light. Reaching Out School Children (ROSC) programme:
GK has established partnership with Directorate of Primary Education of Government of Bangladesh (GOB) by providing training of teachers and capacity enhancement of members of School Management Committee of 2813 ROSC Ananda Schools at local level for effective monitoring from 2006 to June, 2015.
Promotion of mother language in CHT school curriculum:
GK experience shows that many Marma and Bawm teachers got opportunity to pass SSC or near to SSC following national curriculum and become teacher of Gonopatshala in Bandarban of CHT. They are using mother language as teaching instruction to make the children understand about the text of books published by National Curriculum and Text Book Board (NCTB). But many of them do not know their own written script to read and write. “It would never be possible to ensure quality education for ethnic children to learn second and third language (Bangla or English) without basic education on mother language”.
GK started to work on Multi Lingual Education (MLE) including mother languages to be the teachers to teach children with cultural affinity groups like (Mro, Khumi, Marma, Kheyang) and Bawm children as addition subject in every Gonopatshala in Thanchi, Ruma, Lama, Alikadam and Sadar Upazilla of Bandarban Hill District. GK has deployed two ethnic female teachers in each community.
GK incooperation with Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) and partner NGOs exhibits MLE documents by organizing national seminar and succeded to draw attention of Education Minister to include MLE in National Education Policy
Community provides safe accommodation by building houses and free food for the female teachers to live with them to ensure children’s Multi Lingual Education (MLE) particularly for (Mro, Khumi), (Marma, Kheyang) and Bawm communities.
Gono Bishwabidyalay (GB) – a university with a difference is sponsored by Gonoshasthaya Kendra. The GB was established in 1998 following regulations of Bangladesh National Parliament Private University Act – 1992 to provide high quality education and foster the national and global development process through the creation of a centre of excellence. Gono Bishaybidyalay is accredited by the University Grants commission (UGC) and approved by the Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh. For more details visit www.gonouniversity.edu.bd