Education for Better Life for Rural Youth
Secondary education is a strategic need for human resource development in Bangladesh. It is the only means by which the emerging economy can reap the benefits of the green dividend; otherwise, a resource-poor country with a large youth population runs the risk of a tumultuous future. Yet, very little attention is being paid to secondary education. Both access and quality are central issues in secondary education in Bangladesh, but quality remains more neglected. Secondary education in the rural areas where 70 percent of the Bangladeshis live is riddled with graver problems from grossly inadequate infrastructure and facilities to poor learning and teaching to apathy to education in the community.
Volunteers Association for Bangladesh (VAB) is arguably the only NGO in Bangladesh solely devoted to the promotion and improvement of quality secondary education in rural Bangladesh since the late 1990s. Recognizing that empowerment of students, teachers, schools and communities is sine qua non for access and quality, VAB has developed and is implementing four interrelated sets of empowerment measures.
VAB deepens its foundation in Bangladesh with its own Office
VAB-Bangladesh Office moved to a new 2700 sq. ft. Flat located at House # 806 (4th Floor), Road # 3, Baitul Aman Housing Society, Adabar, Dhaka-1207. The total estimated cost for the office including registration but excluding all furnishing and equipment may end up around $210,000. About 85% of the total fund came from 65 donors in the US with the remaining 15% from 23 donors from Bangladesh. Final accounting with exact amount of receipts and expenditures will be completed by the year-end for audit and submission to the NGO Bureau.
Almost 55% of the office space is used for organizing a Training Center with a separate training room and a seminar room, supported by residential and dining facilities comprising six bed rooms. The remaining 45% space is divided into rooms for directors, program managers, accountants, workstations for program officers, and space for library and conference, reception and store. Most of the rooms are sponsored at $10,000 each except for the Training and Seminar rooms, which went for $15,000 each. All sponsors except two are VAB directors.
Chevron Bangladesh supports VAB model with its first Grant
For the past few years Chevron Bangladesh has been carrying out education improvement and charitable programs in the areas where it has operational activities. Chevron Bangladesh acknowledged the role that the VAB model can assume in promoting and sustaining quality secondary education in areas of Bangladesh away from the urban centers. It signed an agreement with VAB-Bangladesh to conduct a 2-year Tk. 1 crore (equivalent to $130,000) education improvement project in 11 high schools, a college and a madrasah in Hobiganj and Moulvibazar districts of Sylhet. Under this agreement, the VAB model of empowerment activities for students, teachers, schools and rural communities are being executed since January this year.
VAB celebrates 15th anniversary in Bangladesh in late December
VAB will be completing 15 years of work in Bangladesh by the end of December this year and plans to celebrate the Event in a befitting manner in Dhaka sometime in the last week of December. Arrangements are being made and the date will be announced in the web site as soon as it is finalized to facilitate the participation of VAB Patrons worldwide in the Event. Meanwhile, VAB management encourages all Patrons to advise if they will be visiting Dhaka around that time.
VAB formally inaugurates its Office in Dhaka in second half of December
Preparations for a formal opening of VAB’s own Office are being planned in the second fortnight of December. Exact date will be set after learning the availability of sponsors/donors from outside Bangladesh to travel to Dhaka during this time. Detailed plans are being made to recognize the sponsors/donors, as announced in the fundraising campaign during 2013-2014. VAB earnestly requests all sponsors/donors outside Bangladesh to make serious efforts to be present on this occasion and advise the management ASAP ( firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-914-591-8635). Once the date is finalized, it will be announced on the web site immediately.
Extraordinary Performances by VAB Schools and VAB Students in 2014 SSC Exam
VAB-assisted 53 rural high schools this year have scored a 93.47% pass rate in the SSC Examination. This is not only an outstanding rate, but also higher than the national average (91.34%) , as in the previous years. Moreover, 11 of the schools had a 100% pass rate – nearly twice the number of last year! These are indeed remarkable accomplishments considering that the national average is dominated by better-equipped urban schools, with better trained teachers, and more affluent students.
Out of 266 VAB scholarship recipients, 254 representing 95.49% passed the Exam with 81.96% receiving “A-” grade or higher.
VAB scholarship recipients and its sponsored schools have been increasingly performing better than the national average for the past few years, especially after the full range of VAB programs came into effect. Not only that the scholarship recipients have been succeeding over the years in the 93-98 percent range, their performance level has also increased with more students getting a grade of “A-” or higher. Congratulations to VAB’s students for their hard work and success, and congratulations to VAB schools for their improved quality of education and achievements.
Most VAB staff are volunteers. Fund raising costs are kept low through mailed in and online donations. Please consider making a donation today.