Bandarban Hill District, Bangladesh   |   Non profit

Project Name
Let the Children Read in Own Language and Culture

Location Implemented
Badarban District, Bangladesh

Organization Website

Organization Type
Non profit

Chittagong Hill Tracts is home to eleven indigenous communities, each having their own distinct culture, religion and language. The conventional education system of Bangladesh does not respond to the specific learning needs of ethnic children, especially education in their mother tongue. An education system that does not sufficiently account for language and culture of indigenous communities; the poor quality of teachers for creating child and culture friendly reading environment; and lack of control of the community people in children’s reading process are resulting in extremely poor learning levels of the ethnic children and high rate of pupil absenteeism and dropout. A baseline survey of 164 schools was conducted. The study revealed that the surveyed ethnic students have poor reading performance. The primary students in the survey on average read 16 words per minute while the standard for an average primary student is 45-90. A grade V student in the survey read on average 27 words per minute while the standard is 90. Less than 1% of the students read at their grade level. Comprehension performance is also poor for the studied ethnic children. The average number of correct responses to questions by students surveyed was only 1 of 5. A large portion (25%) of the students in grade II found no meaning in the text they read. None of students could answer 80% of comprehension questions correctly, even after being given an extended reading period. No multi-lingual education materials of any kind were available at or have been developed for these schools, and 95% of the teachers had no idea about multi-lingual education methods.

This project aims to increase the availability and use of culturally responsive and context-relevant multilingual education (MLE) materials in the mother tongue languages of Chakma, Marma, and Tripura, and Bangla for pre-primary to grade five children in 125 primary schools in Bandarban District, Chittagong Hill. The reading materials are linked to community and culture, based on familiar stories, places and activities, of understandable language, with pictures related clearly to the text, and support the national curriculum and policy. The project is also developing teaching manuals and lesson plans, and training primary school teachers to create an enthusiastic and friendly environment for ethnic children to learn to read. The project also is increasing local participation in the improvement of children’s reading skills by institutionalizing school management and parent committees.

Project Reach
Quantitative Impact - 37,500 children; It will increase the use of "Multilingual Education" materials in the mother tongue for indigenous children in 125 primary schools.

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