Geographical Exclusion to Educational Innovation: A Study on BRAC Shikkhatari

This study aimed to understand the BRAC Boat School (Shikkhatari) initiative in terms of innovation, quality of education, and existing challenges. Whether spatial exclusion can be a basis for educational innovation was also addressed in the study. A mixed-method approach was used which included surveys, interviews, and classroom observations. Fifty randomly selected Shikkhataris and 500 households of the students were surveyed. Program Organisers and teachers were interviewed in eight schools and approximately 18 hours of observation were done in each. Findings reveal that proper geographical targeting was done in setting up the Shikkhataris. These were established nearer to the localities. Parents reported that a vast majority of the students had to cross a waterway to get to school in the monsoon in absence of Shikkhatari. About half of the students got schools in their own hatis. Evidence suggests that over half of the students of Shikkhataris have migrated from government primary schools. Most parents sent students to Shikkhataris for good quality and free education and close proximity to schools from hatis. There were huge operational challenges related to teachers’ recruitment, school supervision, and maintenance of desired contact hours. Mechanical problems with boats and extreme weather conditions sometimes delayed students’ pick-up, which shortened classroom contact hours. Additionally, teacher retention was a vital issue. However, with these challenges, this initiative has been highly successful in geographical targeting of areas that needed extensive intervention. 

Authors: Mehrin, Nawra; Yasmin, Nowreen; Nath, Samir Ranjan
Type: Working Paper
Year: 2014