In Bogra’s Dhunat upazila, extreme poverty and child marriage are the root causes of students discontinuing their education, according to local school authorities. In the last three years around 2,500 students dropped out from the area’s schools.
While 5,578 students of 5,667 Primary School Certificate (PSC) candidates from the upazila passed the examination last year and should have duly become candidates for this year’s Junior School Certificate (JSC) which began in November, the number of students actually appearing for the subsequent JSC exam was only 3,136.
Assistant upazila education officer in Dhunat, Zakir Hossain, told that a field survey and talking with guardians, teachers and students revealed extreme poverty and early marriage as the most common reasons students discontinued study.
While most ultra-poor parents are aware of both the importance of education and the ill-effects of early marriage, practical circumstances can appear an unbeatable influence on the decision not to continue their child’s education, explains Hossain.
Many families simply cannot provide study materials for their children and at the same time, often rely on their children to either work for the family or seek a basic salary elsewhere.
Moreover, Dhunat upazila is among the worst in Bogra to suffer from land erosion caused by the Jamuna River, which, at the least, will exacerbate the tenuousness of a family’s income and can indeed cause financial ruination.
Bogra’s primary education officer Md. Hossain Ali says a project for flood and erosion victims across the district is underway, with one of its aims to ensure the poverty stricken students of erosion-affected families can continue to study. “Day by day, the situation is improving,” he says.