Thirty lakh children out of school!
It is said that still approximately 30 lakh children remain out of school even after taking up different government and non-government schemes to enrol all primary age children in school. Even so, the government claims some success in reducing child dropout rate saying it stood at 29.70 percent in 2011 down from 45.10 percent in 2008.
We have learnt about the barriers and challenges in this regard from a recent article of this daily. These are: regional disparity, poor quality education, limited opportunities, family's economic need, policy gaps, lack of flexible time of schooling and lack of programmes addressing the real needs of children. Another big problem is government's low budget on education. It may be mentioned that Bangladesh allocated 2.6 percent of its total GDP(Gross Domestic Product) for this sector while other South Asian countries allocated up to 6 percent of their GDP in this sector.
Statistics of different organisations say that regional disparity and communication disadvantages cause wide variation in children's attendance in schools in different regions. Net attendance rate varies by 12.80 percent among the six divisions, 16 percent between slums and regional average and 21 percent among the 64 districts.
In fact, the government's seriousness in improving this situation is important. It must take initiatives immediately to make the curriculum for the children interesting, train teachers and create mechanism to link formal with non-formal education.