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307.There have been several initiatives taken by the Government, NGOs and development partners such as: baby classes, within and outside primary schools including satellite schools, need-based school preparedness (pre-reading, pre-writing, and pre-numeracy) skills programmes, pre-school programmes for the disadvantaged, introduction of play groups and kindergarten classes in English medium schools, pre-primary religious education/makhtabs, and literacy skills training in day care centres. MoWCA has started implementing ECD project in 2001 implemented by Bangladesh Shishu Academy (BSA) with the major activities of advocacy, mobilization and communication; Care givers education; School readiness and Networking and Capacity Building of partner organizations. BSA has been implementing the pre-school activities in all 64 districts. Continued advocacy efforts of the ECD Project have generated high prioritisation of early childhood development among Government and other partners. A new similar project titled Early Learning for Development Project (ELDP) has been started with some added focuses.

308.Government primary schools also provide pre-school learning activities. Several NGO/community/individuals have initiated their own pre-primary institutions in collaboration with the Government. One example is the agreement between the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME) and BRAC Education Programme that has opened 15,000 pre-primary schools.

309.The number of advocacy workshops held with the participation of policy and decision makers, service providers and community leaders reached 16,060 in 2005. More than 14,000 frontline workers of the Government and other project partners have been trained to provide caregiver education. A national communication campaign on ECD utilising a wide mix of mass media and interpersonal communicators has been developed for launching at the beginning of 2006.

310.Centre-based group learning activities have been initiated for 20,600 children in selected urban slums and for 20,587 children in three districts of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). An evaluation of the group learning activities in CHT showed positive results in terms of school readiness. The trained frontline workers have provided education to thousands of caregivers.

311.The MoPME is now working for development of a Pre-primary Education Framework. The Working Group constituted for the purpose has already drafted the framework, and awaiting approval for introduction/implementation.

Primary education

312.During the decade of 90s, gross and net enrolment rate, and completion rates at primary level all increased significantly. One of the important factors in this improvement was enactment of Compulsory Primary Education Law in 1990 (for children aged 6 to 10 years). Incentive in the form of ration, stipends, food for education, stipend for around 40 percent poor students in the rural areas, free distribution of books, etc. Primary education is currently provided through eleven different types of institutions, maintaining a gross enrolment rate (GER) of 97 percent since 2002. About 320,000 teachers are presently employed in 78,126 institutions, the teacher student ratio being 1:47 in 2005, compared to 1:55 in 2000. There is variation in the ratio between locations, but classroom over-crowding is quite common in most schools.

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