The observations and suggestions came at the seminar titled 'Governance in Primary Education and Health Sector in Bangladesh" organised by the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University at the BRAC Centre Inn in the capital on 24 September, 2014.
Focusing current state of primary education and health sector in the country, political scientist Dr Jonathan Rose, the keynote speaker told the meet that the literature on the control of corruption identifies numerous issues, both at national and local levels.
He substantiated his points by citing a recent working paper of the World Bank. Speaking at the programme, Jonathan Rose, also the co-author of the report, said despite the considerable financial resources invested in the primary education sector by the government and development partners, there are relatively few systematic studies on governance challenges. “Improved knowledge management is necessary so that governance research may have an impact,” he added.
However, the report also said the challenging issues in this regard at the moment are the quality of education, the high rate of drop-out and the average time it takes to complete school, adding that improved governance could be central to addressing these issues. The political scientist also stressed the importance of decentralization of the primary education sector to overcome the problems facing the sector.
According to the report, Bangladesh exhibits a poor performance at the national level in each of the worldwide governance indicators, particularly in government effectiveness and control of corruption.
Speaking on the occasion, BIGD Lead Researcher Dr Mirza Hasan said ministers, senior public officials and teachers paid serious heed on quantity instead of quality in primary education in a misplaced focus.
He also said, there have been a political will to improve primary education, but the problems lay in the implementation process. “Unfortunately, the members of parliament often have bad influence on schools, and this is impeding progress,” he said, adding that quality education is now the main challenge and concentration should be on this issue.
Manzoor Hasan, Executive Director of BRAC University’s South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (SAILS) said, research activities are often ignored in public and private universities and there should be adequate funding on research activities so that universities can do researches.
Addressing the issues, Dr. Minhaj Mahmud, Head of research, BIGD, BRAC University and Chair of the seminar said, this is very regressive for the poor as the essential and basic needs like health care and education cannot be ensured yet. Indicating the research findings, he stressed on accountability in the implementation level, CSO participation and strong political will and commitment regarding quality, not quantity. He also urged to fix mindset along with expectations on strengthening sustainable research trend in Bangladesh.
Among others, the seminar was also attended by dozens of academics, researchers, representatives from national and international NGOs, donor agencies and civil society.
Sources: The financial Express, Dhaka Tribune, BIGD Newsroom
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