If Tasleema Akhtar had been a teenager in the 1990s she wouldn’t have stepped inside a classroom.
S P E A K O U T !
|Join Zia Qureshi, lead author of the World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report, for a live online discussion on Tuesday, October 26, 10 a.m. |
What progress has been made toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals? What can be done to accelerate the results? How can the results be sustained?
For 13-year-old Tasleema lives in Bangladesh. And in 1991, only 20% of females in the country could read and write, which means they were among the least educated in the world.
Today more than 50% of girls in Bangladesh go to secondary school.
“I know what life is like for people who did not go to school. They have no future, no possibilities. I do not want that life,” says Tasleema, whose mother can barely sign her name.
“In my village I have seen many people die for lack of health care. I want to be a doctor and help them.”
In South Asia, Bangladesh has been a pioneer in increasing girls secondary school enrollment.
The World Bank has been the government’s main partner through two projects that have provided small cash stipends to ease the financial burden of schooling for girls.
Under the first project, enrollment in the project areas more than doubled from 462,000 in 1994 to slightly above one million in 2001.
Tasleema is one girl whose hunger for education has been helped by the second World Bank funded project – worth $120 million dollars – aiming to improve not only girls’ access, but also the quality of secondary schools in Bangladesh.
About a million girls from desperately poor families in rural Bangladesh now have their education supported through a stipend funded by the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank under the Female Secondary School Assistance Project (FSSAP-11)
The project provides far more than just money to encourage girls to attend school. It also aims to improve the quality of teachers, school management and even basic school facilities.
Many schools are in regions where the girls drop out of the education system simply because there’s a lack of toilets. So, providing separate latrines and safe drinking water is another key element of the project.
The Bangladesh program is one cited by lead author, Zia Qureshi in the Global Monitoring Report as a project that should be expanded if developing countries are to met the Millennium Development Goals – key international targets to be met by the year 2015.
Zia Qureshi says a key priority for developing countries is to provide better targeted education, health and social assistance services for poor people.
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