Published on 12:00 AM, March 17, 2022


53pc RMG workers’ children deprived of online class: study

The South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (Sanem) yesterday said 53 per cent of the garment workers surveyed in a recent study by the non-profit research organisation reported that their children were not provided any online classes amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

As per the findings published yesterday, the figures make it clear that not all schools have the capacity to arrange online classes.

In addition, it was found that the quality of the online classes delivered has been reportedly low.

Of the 1,280 respondents, 31 per cent with children attending online classes described those classes as being not at all effective or ineffective while only 18 per cent found them effective or very effective.

Meanwhile, roughly 52 per cent of the remaining respondents expressed uncertainty about the effectiveness of online classes.

Sanem conducted the survey in collaboration with Microfinance Opportunities from January 13-23 this year as a part of its Garment Worker Diaries project. Among the respondents, 76 per cent were female.

The survey explored the challenges faced by the children of garment workers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It also tried to dig into the issue of Covid-19's impact on further education by asking respondents about their children's access to online classes, inconveniences faced to attend classes, their effectiveness, and the recovery of lost learning opportunities.

The lockdowns and school closures during the pandemic affected 36.5 million students in Bangladesh. This had far-reaching implications, such as learning loss, school dropouts, and even child labour and child marriage.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, remote learning cannot fully compensate for the lack of face-to-face education.

Moreover, the existing digital divide exacerbated the inequality in access to education during the pandemic.

This is further evinced by the fact that 24 per cent of the respondents with male children and 21 per cent of those with female children said their kids are yet to recover from the learning loss.

The survey also asked if their children would resume studying when schools reopen. Alarmingly, 9 per cent of the households having school-going children reported that either some of their children or all of them would not continue their studies.

The causes of dropouts include the fact that they are no longer able to bear the cost of education or their children got involved in economic activities and are not in a position to return to their studies.