Although the school reopened after being closed for a long time due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the attendance of students has decreased. It is learned that among the students returning to the school, the attendance at the secondary level has decreased more than at the primary level. At this level female attendance has increased as compared to male students but in ninth grade student attendance has decreased at the same rate.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
This information has come up in a research report of the campaign ‘Safe Safe School’ of 21 national and international development organizations working in Bangladesh.
The research report was presented at a hotel in the capital’s Gulshan on Wednesday (April 13th). The study was conducted to monitor children’s attendance at school after long breaks, health care system maintenance and mental well-being.
The companies conducted the survey over a three-week period in 327 primary and secondary schools in 16 districts of seven divisions of the country. Focus groups interviewed 1,606 children from schools and collected qualitative information through interviews with students, parents, teachers and education officials.
According to the report, during the three weeks of the survey, 18 to 36 per cent of male students were absent in primary schools and 14 per cent to 35 per cent of female students were absent. At the same time, 34 percent to 45 percent male students and 26 percent to 41 percent female students were absent at the secondary level.
The report also mentions the primary reasons why students are absent from school. The reasons are- (a) Involvement in economic activities (b) Child marriage (c) Relocation of family to other area (d) Moving to other educational institutions (e) Disinterest in receiving formal education etc.
The research report also raises the issue of health protection and mental health of children in schools. The study found that 84 percent of students wear masks at school and 72 percent overall maintain social distance in the classroom.
According to the survey, students experienced irritable mood, loneliness, isolation and stress during lockdowns, which parents, teachers and education officials said were due to financial crisis, uncertain future, risk of child marriage, chances of dropping out of school, increased family problems and not being able to attend online classes. And the difficulty of understanding the text. Although these problems have diminished since the reopening of educational institutions, some new ones have emerged. Such as disinterest in teaching, difficulty understanding lessons and the challenge of being able to mix easily with others.
Education Minister said in a speech as the chief guest. Dipu Moni said, “We have to work for a long time to make up for the loss of primary and secondary.” This study coincides with the results of many government studies.
“We have started training 200,000 teachers to work on mental health,” he said. Each educational institution will have at least two trained counseling teachers. And there will be one professional councilor in each district. If everyone works together, the gap that has been created can certainly be filled. We believe that development partners have an important role to play in this.
Incidentally, the ‘Return to Safe School’ campaign started on February 10, 2021 to bring the children back to the classroom safely. Since then, the campaign has been working to create advocacy at the local and national levels as well as public awareness at the field level.
The national and international development agencies conducting the campaign are: BRAC, British Council, Mass Literacy Campaign, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Educo Bangladesh, FIVDB, Friendship, Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh, Handicap International – Humanity and Inclusion. , Room to Read Bangladesh, Save the Children in Bangladesh, Sitesavers, Sesame Workshop Bangladesh, Stromy Foundation, Teach for Bangladesh, VSO, World Vision Bangladesh and Ipsa.