Although Bangladesh has made a considerable progress in increasing enrolment of students at the primary level, the country is facing a challenge to improve literacy skills of the early graders.
Experts and education campaigners blamed traditional teaching and learning materials for poor performance of students at the primary level. Though Bangla is their mother tongue, many early graders struggle to improve their competency in Bangla, they observed.
Dr Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal, directorate general of Directorate of Primary Education, said, “Our success in primary education, particularly increasing student enrolment, has been lauded internationally… Now we are giving focus on improving quality of primary education.”
“We have already set up multimedia classrooms at 12,000 government primary schools out of 65,000 aiming to make classrooms interactive and interesting to the students,” he added.
The government is working to install multimedia classrooms at the remaining government primary schools to promote technology-oriented education in the country, Dr Abu Hena said. Children find interesting their lessons in multimedia classrooms and they understand their passages easily, he said adding, “We need quality content to make ICT-based education more effective and interactive to the students.”
Teachers at the primary level have been given two-week training so that they can develop quality contents for their students, he added.
Dr Abu Hena said, “Literacy skills of many early graders are not satisfactory. Taking this into consideration, we are going to take special programmes to address the problems.”
According to Ministry of Primary and Mass Education’s National Student Assessment 2013, 25 per cent of students in grade III cannot read short, simple, mostly imaginative texts, locate and interpret directly stated information, identify correct word orders of simple sentences, identify the meaning and correct spelling of high frequency words, recognize correct use of some punctuation in Bangla.
Education campaigners laid emphasis on good literacy skills as it encourages students to continue their studies as well as achieve good results in different levels of formal education.
Directorate of Primary Education along with different organizations and development partners is working to promote ICT based education at the primary level aiming to improve foundation skills.
As part of the initiative, Directorate of Primary Education and USAID’s Reading Enhancement for Advancing Development (READ) project, implemented by Save the Children in Bangladesh, jointly organized a daylong exhibition of teaching-learning materials recently.
Shahin Islam, deputy director- partnership management of READ Project, Save the Children in Bangladesh, said amplifying the use of interesting and child-friendly educational ICT materials, innovative reading and storytelling activities, and practice of learning from the android apps would significantly help ensure competency in literacy skills in Bangla.
READ project has been working on improving Bangla reading skill of early grade children in Bangladesh, he said adding READ has been trying to produce ICT-based interactive reading materials that can motivate children to learn to read.
“Under the project, we have developed a ‘Reading Hub’ that contains textbook based e-content, approved by National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), 169 supplementary reading materials or story books for children, three interactive learning android apps for the students of grade I-III,” he added.