Streamlining Education for Efficiency

Consolidating single-class satellite schools into multi-class primary schools

Children play outside of a Friendship School

Friendship is reshuffling its education sector this year by consolidating its single-class satellite schools into multi-class primary schools. As a needs-based development NGO, Friendship is always striving to meet the demands of the community in a pragmatic manner. To coincide with the successful completion of the curriculum of the 6-year long single-class satellite schools, 41 such schools have been closed while in total 8 new multi-class primary and junior secondary schools have been introduced for cost and resource efficiency.

A typical Friendship Satellite School

Friendship commenced its education sector in 2005 covering the marginalized and remote, deltaic islands, or chars in the districts of Gaibandha and Kurigram in the north; and gradually expanded to the isolated coastal areas in Satkhira and Patuakhali districts in the south of Bangladesh. Until 2018, of its 85 schools, 17 were multi-class primary schools, 7 junior-secondary schools and 61 satellite schools. The satellite schools are single-class schools where a single batch of students get enrolled in pre-primary class and continue for 6 years to complete their primary education till Class 5 when they turn around 12 years old. While the satellite schools can provide education to only a small group of students until the 6-year cycle gets completed, a multi-class primary school has the scope to enroll new batch of students every year. At the end of 2018, 41 such satellite schools have completed their 6-year cycle.

Friendship Primary School at Batikhamari, in the north
Students of a Friendship Primary School celebrating their results

At Friendship schools, due to their remoteness in nature, teachers are selected from within the community who then undergo continuous supervision and regular teacher training program to ensure delivery of quality education. As a result, students of Friendship primary and secondary schools have outperformed the national average in respective national primary and junior secondary exams in the last few years. Such supervision involves a significant amount of resources, be it a single-class school or a multi-class school. Deploying such resources for a multi-class school is more pragmatic and efficient as they allow a larger group of students to get access to education.

Considering this, Friendship has decided to reshuffle its activities by closing those 41 satellite schools and not enrol another batch of students for a 6-year cycle. Instead, Friendship has introduced 4 new multi-class primary schools and 4 new junior secondary schools to compensate for the satellite schools and meet the growing demands in those remote areas. This move will significantly improve the efficiency of its supervision and allocation of resources.

In addition to this, this year, for the first time Friendship has introduced 5 new High Schools, introducing Class 9 and 10 for students between 15–17 years old to give them access to higher education. These computer-aided and solar-powered schools are adjoining existing 5 Junior Secondary Schools in Gaibandha and Kurigram districts. Friendship will continue working with government schools and other partner institutions to promote Friendship’s Code of Ethics, Child Rights, Environmental Studies and Cultural Studies.

Cluster-Based Learning Centre at Rohingya Camp

Outside of the regular intervention areas, Friendship stepped forward to help the people in crisis at the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar in October 2017. Due to Friendship’s readiness and experience in providing quality education in inaccessible areas, UNICEF has come forward to support Friendship to build and operate 100 Learning Centres at the Rohingya camp since October 2018, which will benefit 8,000 people from both the Rohingya and the host communities.

Friendship’s reshuffling approach will ensure improved efficiency of its education program. Therefore, your continued support will bring more benefit to the people against each dollar contributed.

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