Monday, 2 October, 2023

Social Partnerships to Develop Rural Schools

Radif Hasan

Rural education in Bangladesh faces multifaceted challenges, including inadequate infrastructure, limited access to educational resources, and environmental degradation. Social partnerships have emerged as a promising approach to address these issues holistically, aiming to safeguard the environment while augmenting educational quality. This report explores how collaborative efforts involving governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local communities, and international organisations are contributing to the development of rural schools in Bangladesh.

One key aspect of social partnerships is the integration of environmental protection into educational initiatives. Initiatives such as tree planting campaigns, waste management programs, and awareness campaigns about sustainable practices are integral to the efforts of enhancing rural schools. According to Rahman et al. (2019), community-based initiatives that emphasise environmental conservation have a positive impact on students' attitudes towards nature and ecological responsibility.

Social partnerships also play a pivotal role in improving the educational quality in rural schools. Collaborations between NGOs, government agencies, and philanthropic organisations have facilitated the provision of educational materials such as textbooks, stationery, and digital resources. Research by Ahmed et al. (2020) highlights that the availability of such materials contributes significantly to students' learning outcomes and overall engagement in the learning process.

Government policies and international support have catalysed the effectiveness of social partnerships in rural school development. The Bangladesh government's commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has led to increased funding for rural education and environmental protection programs (World Bank, 2021). Additionally, international organisations like UNESCO and UNICEF have collaborated with local stakeholders to provide technical expertise and financial resources, further strengthening the impact of social partnerships.

Several noteworthy examples illustrate the transformative potential of social partnerships in rural school development in Bangladesh:

The collaboration between the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) and the Government of Bangladesh to implement the Non-Formal Primary Education (NFPE) program showcases the utilization of environmentally friendly materials for constructing school buildings, coupled with tailored educational materials.

The partnership between the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the World Bank in support of the Third Primary Education Development Program (PEDP3) highlights efforts to enhance educational quality, school management, and environmental awareness².

The joint initiative by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Bangladesh Shishu Academy, known as the Shishu Bikash Kendra (SBK), exemplifies the engagement of parents and communities in fostering early childhood development through play-based learning.

Case Study: On August 18, 2023, President Parsa Sanjana Latif of Inner Wheel Club of Dhanmondi, District 328, led a tree planting program at the premises of Purbail Government Primary School. During this time, along with club members, the school's teachers were present. Various types of medicinal and fruit-bearing saplings were planted. The aim was to ensure that the students of the school could enjoy these fruits in the future and benefit from the medicinal plants. With the purpose of enabling the students to enjoy the fruits in the future and benefit from medicinal plants, this tree planting program was conducted there. The Club will also be providing stationery items such as school bags, pencil box etc. to the students of the school to improve their educational experience.

This can be a good example for other organisations on how to conduct these programs related to protecting the environment and enhancing educational quality.

Despite the progress made, challenges persist in the implementation of social partnerships for rural school development in Bangladesh. Issues such as resource allocation, coordination among stakeholders, and sustainability of initiatives require continuous attention. To address these challenges, a comprehensive framework for monitoring and evaluation should be established to ensure the long-term effectiveness of social partnerships.

The collaborative efforts of social partnerships in Bangladesh demonstrate the potential to address two crucial aspects: environmental protection and educational quality enhancement in rural schools. By fostering engagement between governments, NGOs, local communities, and international organisations, rural education in Bangladesh can be transformed. The integrated approach of combining environmental awareness with educational development not only empowers students with knowledge but also cultivates a sense of responsibility towards the environment.


The writer is a student

of North South University