is one of the fastest growing developing countries with a large population.
With over 150 million people living in 143,000 square kilometer area,
Bangladesh is on of the most densely populated country in the world. However,
this huge population could be a tremendous asset if proper investments are
made. Bangladesh along with 188 nations endorsed the Millennium Declaration at
the Millennium Summit of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2000.
The country agreed to achieve Millennium Development Goals of the United
Nations by the year 2015. In the status of MDG achievement Bangladesh has made
remarkable progress in the areas of primary school enrollment, gender parity in
primary and secondary level education, reducing child mortality and
Although, Bangladesh has made significant progress in enrollment of primary education, it is facing challenges in retaining primary students up to grade V, improving quality of primary education, increasing share of education in government budget, widening coverage among physically challenged and autistic children and improving quality of adolescent and adult literacy programs. Over the years, many different strategies have been followed involving government, NGOs and private sector to increase coverage and improve quality of primary education. The overall progress in retention and quality at present being not on the desired track of MDG attainment, planned initiatives are still required in this area. Against this backdrop, ASA initiated the Primary Education Strengthening Program (PESP) in 2011 to provide supplementary after-school tuition to pre-primary, Grade 1 and Grade 2 students belonging predominantly to poor and illiterate households.
The objectives of PESP have been:
To attain the stated objectives, ASA started 300 learning centers in 20 districts in February 2011. During this year 8386 students got extra educational support from these learning centers, whereas the intended number of students was 7500. Currently (till March, 2014) ASA operates 4200 learning centers adjacent to government primary schools in 280 branches of 58 districts, whereas the total number of students was almost 1,26,000. Number of learning centers will be increased gradually and the organization has a plan to open 7200 learning centers by the year 2015 to provide additional tuition support to about 2,16,000 students all over in Bangladesh. Each learning center managed by a mentor is meant for 25 to 35 students, who go to adjacent public / private primary schools. Priority is given to students from poor and illiterate households. The learning centers are accommodated in a porch of a guardian or mentors’ house and are operated for at least two hours daily and 6 days in a week before or after the school periods. Students bring their educational aid. ASA provides supplementary teaching materials like blackboard, chalk, attendance sheet, mat etc. Apart from regular lessons, students are encouraged to participate in singing, recitation, dancing etc. Mentors motivate the students to make it a habit to put on lean clothes, cut nails, wash hands with soap etc. An education supervisor in every branch monitors these learning centers. He visits each learning center at least once a week. During his visit he observes the teaching-learning activities and consults with the mentor and the guardians about the progress of learning of the students.