Enhancing educators’ skills for quality preprimary education in Bangladesh

education in Bangladesh
In order to successfully implement this vision of high-quality pre-primary education, teachers, school practitioners and leaders will need specialized training and support.

Over the past decade, Bangladesh has experienced an upward shift in focus in early year education planning.  The Government is showing a strong commitment to early childhood education and positioning itself to continue to make this a priority for the country. As of 2021, around 1.57 million students were enrolled in preprimary education (PPE) in around 65,000 government primary schools.  The Government now intends to pilot an additional year of PPE for four-year-olds and then expand the program countrywide as envisioned in the National Education Policy 2010.

In order to successfully implement this vision of high-quality PPE, teachers and school practitioners and leaders will need specialized training and support.  A 2021 survey of 200 PPE teachers and 200 headteachers (the equivalent of principals) across 300 public schools sought to understand educators’ perceptions on PPE and identify professional development priorities. Results showed that while almost all PPE teachers participated in the government’s 15-day induction training, there were notable gaps in their sense of preparedness to teach PPE. And for headteachers, very few (12.5 percent) received any training at all on PPE or early childhood education. When asked whether they wanted more training opportunities, nearly all teachers and headteachers agreed. Specific topics of interest included behavior management; characteristics of young children/how young children learn; socio-emotional learning; and mental health.

Mindsets play a role

While expertise in technical areas is important, the mindsets of these educators also play a critical role in how they use their knowledge and create a learning environment for young children.  The study found that teachers and headteachers have a conventional perspective, often viewing PPE predominantly as a place to provide basic education to children rather than an opportunity for holistic development in the early years. About half of the teachers and headteachers responded that the focus in PPE is largely on academic learning. This mindset diverges from the literatures that show that young children learn best when they pursue their own interests, interact with their peers and surroundings, and engage in playful learning. 

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