Digital lessons in Bangladesh have resumed for thousands of the children that we support through 29 community schools and 75 camp learning centres. Find out how they are making learning exciting and helping the children to flourish once more.
In Bangladesh; we support education for 9,000 refugee and slum dwelling children in Cox’s Bazar, the Doharazi enclaves and in the world’s largest refugee camp - Kutupalong.
The pandemic closed schools in all areas of Bangladesh for 18 months and created very tough conditions for the children we support, but classes were finally allowed to resume for most of the children in September 2021, much to their delight.
As the children have settled back into the classroom, we are thrilled to see how much they are flourishing, particularly thanks to our digital education programme.
Teachers use projectors to deliver lessons and share videos with the students and ‘Moja Kids’ is an online platform unique to the children in Bangladesh where students create video updates to share back and forth with children outside the slums and camps where they live.
MAKING LEARNING EXCITING
As soon as classrooms reopened in Bangladesh, digital equipment was distributed to the teachers and they were given refresher training on how to use them to deliver lessons.
The projector lessons have a hugely positive impact on the children who get so excited to learn in this way. They are fascinated by what they are watching, and tell staff that they can understand what they are learning more clearly. Most of the children say that the digital lessons are their favourite thing about school.
'AS A RESULT OF THE PROJECTOR LESSONS, I LIKE TO GO
Rojin Akter, a teacher in Kutupalong says: “I and the kids at my learning centre are very happy. I also like to teach through the projector, and the children come to school very happily. I am able to explain to the children quickly through the projector what I have been explaining for a long time through books. The children are very happy to see any of their classmates on the projector screen.”
In addition to digital lessons to support the curriculum, our partners have also created a series of health awareness videos which are regularly shown to the children to help keep them safe at home and as they move around the refugee camp and their communities. The videos cover over thirty subjects from Covid and serious disease through to snake bites, dysentery, common health complaints and how to prevent parasitic infections.
I AM PERSONALLY AWARE OF COVID-19 AND DENGUE FROM AWARENESS SESSIONS SHOWN THROUGH THE PROJECTOR, AN ENCOURAGE MY FAMILY TO BE AWARE.
MOJA KIDS NEWSLETTERS ARE BACK
'Moja Kids' is our online newsletter platform for children to connect with other children outside the confines of the camps and slums. It is one of the most beloved components of our programme in Bangladesh, so it’s an area we quickly reestablished as soon as schools were back open in September 2021.
Newsletters are published once a week and teachers support the children to prepare their contributions, with the newsletters focusing on one school per week. Children submit their ideas to Child Councils - made up of their peers - and produce and publish the videos themselves.
The excitement around Moja Kids is infectious. Parents tell us how their children practice at home so they can take part in the videos and, at school, the children talk about never wanting to be absent in case they miss the screening of a Moja Kids video. They also chatter constantly about the content that they have watched.
Project Officer Sudeb Rudra says “Once they see their friends on screen, they shout out their names and children who have featured seem to become like heroes! I hear the children say "Oh my God! This is our Urmi, but she is just like a television news presenter!”
Whilst all the children are keen to join in, some are still too shy to participate, especially girls in the Kutupalong camp, so we are working on ways to encourage and support the girls to get more involved.
Feedback from the children and teachers has shown how happy everyone is to be back at school after such a long time learning at home. So many positive benefits are being reported to us since the schools reopened and digital lessons resumed, including the children being cleaner, tidier, more confident, more optimistic and more interested in learning again.
The majority of children we spoke to also told us how confident they are that they will be able to work in their chosen profession when they grow up. 10 year old Mohammed Yeasar from Kutupalong told us how, “। want to be a police officer when I grow up. I could not even talk to teachers before out of fear. But now I can. The teacher can see me.“
The children we support are living in challenging situations, in slums, having to work to support their families, or isolated in crowded refugee camps. But our teachers are trained on how to teach and support the children and it is clear that they are doing a brilliant job; instilling hope and confidence in the children they teach and inspiring them to learn.
Over half of the children we educate in Bangladesh told us recently that they want to be teachers when they grow up. It is clear that the children hold their teachers in such high regard; they tell us glowing reports about their teachers, with most of them telling us that they love their teachers and believe their teacher loves them.
BENEFITS BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
The majority of the children attending the schools we support say that they use what they learn in school at home to support their parents or siblings. So the benefits of education extend to so many more people. Children tell their parents about the health and safety videos they watch at school; meaning family members are now more health conscious.
Foyaz Ullah, a parent in Kutupalong said: “We are informed about the projectors used in the school as well as the health awareness activities, and the children come home and tell us. All family members are now more health conscious, washing their hands with soap before and after meals.”
Parents also appreciate their children’s help with calculations for their businesses or shopping at the market thanks to maths lessons at school. 11-year-old Achmida Bibi from Kutupalong helps her parents by reading signs at the market, public notices and medicine prescriptions. She assists with paying for goods and ensures they are given the correct change - all of which can make life in the camps a little easier.
Nur Hossain is 13 years old and attends one of the community schools we support in Cox’s Bazar. He says, “I can read any kind of Bengali reading, I have learned to read all the English readings suitable for the fourth grade. I can add, subtract, multiply and divide. All this I learned from Mukti School. These lessons help me a lot in running my shop. The teachers at my school are very sincere. They teach us with care. I always enjoy my school time. School is like heaven for us."
Children on the Edge envisions a world in which every child thrives regardless of their geography, ethnicity, gender, or caste. The children we support in Bangladesh have really begun to flourish since classrooms being back open and digital lessons resuming. Whilst schools have been temporarily closed again due to a rise in coronavirus cases again, we're hopeful they should be back in action in the next few weeks.