Rural education for development

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Someone has said it right – ‘Education is the backbone of a country’. It is such an aspect which can take even the poorest of societies to the height of privilege and welfare. The examples are not few. Taking a look at the world’s most developed nations, we can see similarities in how they emphasize on education as a core factor which stirs their nation toward success. Owing to heavy investment behind educational sector, not only have they transformed into knowledge societies but also managed to attract thousands of students and workers from underprivileged corners of the world – all migrating with the vision of a better future for themselves and their loved ones. But why is it an issue? Where have we, as a nation, gone wrong?

Today, our beloved Bangladesh is strolling towards success. However, we are still placed in the ranks of least – to – medium developing countries with our per capita swinging in the range of $800 – $1000. Being poor and dependant on foreign aid has been an obstacle to many of our potentials as a nation. Authorities have, therefore, advocated that we should take a serious look into the education system which can be a viable solution to our existing problems. Education, in general, has a broad definition and hence, we need to pin-point on exactly what we are talking about. In my case, it would be rural education – the very basic schooling given to deprived communities in many villages and remote regions in our country.

According to statistics, a high proportion of the world population lives under poverty or have limited access to basic necessities of life. This reflects on our country as well. Lack of education has therefore, created a big literacy divide among our society which has led to many negative factors like poor living standard, discrimination and so on. It is of paramount importance that we shrink this divide as much as possible, for the sake of a developed and healthy generation. We as a nation should meld our efforts and work towards attaining it – societies, industries and government alike.

Even though our government and concerned authorities have planned ideas to spread and enhance the quality of rural education, lack of incentives, relevant contents and policies have barred its progress. Many teachers, schools are reluctant to move into these regions and do their job. Lack of infrastructure, unavailability of necessary living standard could be few of the reasons. Moreover, our state policies have comparatively favored education in city centers and major towns around the country, owing to which only privileged citizens get access to such service. In addition, many young people start work at a very early age in these rural regions due to shortage of family income and hence, do not get to attain the light of education. A prime reason for all these could be the lack of affordability to undertake such a large project for a population of 160 million, out of which at least 40% live in remote areas.

The causes, as we can see, have been adverse. Many of our countrymen travel to other countries and does intensive labor work. Moreover, they do not get paid that well to afford even a mediocre lifestyle which leads to health, physical and mental issues to which many of them don’t have a solution. An epitome could be UAE itself. It would be tough not to find a Bangladeshi worker in any construction site in this country. With millions of workers flooding in Middle East simply shows what lack of education can bring days to. Whereas, had they been schooled back in Bangladesh and given access to necessities, these people could have worked for the country and together we could have gone much further as a nation.

Nevertheless, all is not lost. We can still conjoin different aspects of our economy to boost rural education and related services. With a vision to transform Bangladesh into a knowledge-society someday, I can advocate our industries and academic institutions to come forward and implement technology as a very feasible method of achieving it. With the aid of experts, such move will not only stimulate learning but also dawn an interactive environment where users can learn, have fun and also penetrate into their technology skills. Related IT Systems can be developed to foster teaching in collaboration with local and international partners, which can also overcome issues of corruption, terrain, climate and bureaucratic barriers – factors that are predominantly existent in our part of the world. In addition to making an educated country, we can also make strides in the field of technology and develop professionals who may later catalyze their expertise to provide a concrete foundation on which we can make an ‘Innovation Economy’.

By: M. Redwan Hasan

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