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Building Capacity of Bangladeshi Schools to Promote 21st Century Skills

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The project aims to inspire schools, educators, the government education departments and local authories to advocate for the infusion of 21st century skills into education and provides tools and resources to help facilitate and drive radical positive changes in the society

1. Sommario progetto

Despite its development challenges, Bangladeshis have made slow but steady strides in the past decade towards securing a brighter future for the country’s fast growing population. According to the most recent report on progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals, Bangladesh has progressed unevenly towards each of the goals, with modest advance in the area of poverty reduction and most significant progress toward achieving universal primary education, a goal that is “well on its way” to being attained. The Bangladeshi government has identified low human capacity and high rates of unemployment among youth as primary reasons for persistent poverty. If Bangladesh is to break the cycle of poverty in which it has been locked for decades, its children and youth need to have access to high quality formal and non-formal education beyond primary school. Education targeted toward the promotion of skills necessary to survive and thrive in the 21st century enhances human capacity and raises chances of employment for the Bangladeshi workforce—both locally and globally. Thus, there is a pressing need to develop a productive workforce by engaging both governmental and non-state actors in dialogue and concerted action towards provision of relevant, high quality education services to the country’s youth. While secondary education prepares pupils for employment at the entry level and serves as foundation for those who aspire to pursue advanced studies, significant gaps are yet to be filled particularly in areas devoted to workforce preparation and development. The following skills are essential to ensure a productive, prosperous future, for recent graduates: information and communication technology (ICT), media literacy, interpersonal and intercultural communication, critical thinking and problem-solving, collaborative work, self-direction (accountability, adaptability, and social responsibility), civic literacy, and global awareness. Moreover, strong financial, economic, and business literacy coupled with basic notions of entrepreneurship are also very important for workplace productivity and career options The secondary education system in Bangladesh must transform its objectives, curricula, pedagogies, and assessments to help students attain the sophisticated knowledge and skill outcomes requisite for a prosperous and productive future. The project enhances the capacity of education sector stakeholders to provide or support the provision of relevant work skills to Bangladeshi youth. The project aims to equip Bangladeshi youth with 21st century skills and knowledge that allow them to attain their full potential through provision of high-quality non-formal education services and capacity building of education actors to advocate for and promote the inclusion of 21st skill teaching in the national curriculum and formal education system. The three expected results are as follows: 1) Strengthened capacity of non-state actors in the education sector (individual educators and administrators, educational NGOs, and local education departments) to deliver improved education services by addition of non-formal education activities and courses focused on 21st century skills to the regular academic curriculum and learning environment at secondary schools 2) Strengthened capacity of non-state actors in the education sector (individual educators and administrators, educational NGOs, and local education departments) to advocate for inclusion of 21st century skills in the national curriculum through research and policy dialogue and 3) Enhanced opportunities for students of Bangladeshi schools to acquire 21st century skills and thus to perform better in their pursuit of employment prospects. The activities of the project include • 21st Century Skills Supplementary Curriculum for Schools and Madrassas • Teacher Professional Development • Establishment of Teachers’ Network for 21st Century Skills • Capacity Building Workshops for Local Education Authorities, School Management Committees (SMCs), and School Administrators • Research and Policy Advocacy • Implementation of Supplemental Curriculum on 21st Century Skills: Participants in TPD trainings • Information Literacy and Communication Skills Trainings for Students • English Language Clubs • 21st Century Skills Virtual Community • Online Collaborative Projects on Global Issues: The project is follow on activity of the Bangladesh Global Connections and Exchange Program which has been implemented by Relief International-Schools Online since 2004 to promote use and integration Information and Communication Technologies( ICT) in education and cross cultural dialogue and collaboration

2. Paese (Città / Regione)
3. Nome dell'organizzazione che presenta il progetto
Relief International-Schools Online
4. Tipo di organizzazione
Scegli tipo: 
International non profit
5. Coordinatore del progetto
Nome e Cognome: 
Nazrul Islam
6. Website
Il sito web del progetto: 
7. Selezionate la categoria di appartenenza del vostro progetto
Inserimento dei giovani nel mondo del lavoro: 
Inserimento dei giovani nel mondo del lavoro
Creatività e Innovazione sociale: 
NOT in Creativity and Social Innovation
8. Da quando è funzionante il vostro progetto?
9. Obiettivi ed elementi di innovazione
Come, e con quali mezzi cerca di raggiungere gli obiettivi prefissati: 

The project aims to instil in the mind of the Bangladeshi youth and young professionals, 21 century skills and proficiency to reveal and realize its potential to attain the best professions within and outside its national boundary. It envisages bringing together members from the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to ensure that students emerge from our schools with the skills needed to be effective citizens, workers, and leaders in the 21st century. It aims to do that by highlighting the importance of incorporating the use of ICT in our general curricula.

Quali opportunità/problemi affronta: 

Our educational framework has been lagging behind other sectors as the prevailing ICT applications and representations are largely used to automate traditional methods of teaching and learning. All these have had considerable impact in workplace settings however it does not draw on the complete power of ICT for human capabilities that are emerging as core work and life skills for the 21st century. Moreover face-to face communication is seen as the “gold standard,” so students develop few capabilities in interactive and rich cross cultural dialogue. Representations available in mediated interaction (e.g., immersive simulations, non-linear conceptual maps) ,though more acutely tuned than those possible in face-to-face settings without ICT have been long neglected. Our project addresses this key issue which is a major hindrance to our growth.

10. Risultati
In che misura risponde ai bisogni degli utenti: 

The project takes a diverse group of users in to account: school administrative and educators, students ,and members of the community. Through a need assessment study the project has fulfilled the core needs of these user groups that it has deemed vital. The primary aim of school administrative and educators is to be able to play a pivotal role in the students education, their need is to be able to impart their knowledge to the students in the most skillful and detailed manner. This is made much easier by the use of 21st century in the classroom, which allows the e students to grow up to be well rounded individual with various essential skills. The need for in-depth knowledge and more comprehensive learning is fulfilled by the use of 21st century skills, which promotes a more extensive learning curricula. Taking on a more hands on and project based learning technique ensures that the knowledge and skill requirements of students are well met. Finally , community members need skilled workforce which will foster its development. In other words, for our economic growth to occur there widespread need for our human resource to be equipped with both IT and workplace , and that is exactly what is brought by the individuals who acquire the 21st century skills.

Quanti utenti interagiscono con il progetto mensilmente e in quale modo: 

We have implemented this program in 10 rural and semi-urban districts of Bangladesh. We have been present in each of these districts since 2004, working in 47 secondary schools and madrasas. During this time, RI has found that working with schools; local education authorities and community groups are some of the most effective ways to reach communities. Numbers of users who interact with our project per month can be estimated at approximately 750 including all the beneficiaries who exist in the 10 selected districts

Descrivete in quale modo il progetto contribuisce a migliorare l'educazione e la formazione dei giovani: 

The Alliance for 21st Century Skills Framework seeks to stress on programs and activities which will enhance development of those skills that supplement the theoretical knowledge taught within the mainstream educational system in Bangladesh. It has improved the quality of educational and/or training services by the : • New and innovative teaching methods- Students who are taught using modern methods find themselves far more interested in the learning process than those who are only encouraged to seek knowledge from textbooks.Greater interest fuels their enthusiasm which in turn leads them to learn a lot more. Hence the new and improved educational system succeeds in providing knowledge to the students in new and interesting way. • Practice of day to day academic activities- Activity based learning is a new and unfamiliar practice for students of Bangladesh, although it is infinitely more resourceful and enlightening for them, The practice of engaging in activities and learning through a group based ,participatiry approach helps students not only learn skills of collborating but also helps them in the long run when they engage in team based activities with their colleagues. Hence infusing 21st century skills in the classroom improves the training system drastically by bringing about a generation of more collaborative and co operative individuals. • Integration of technology in the curricula- Students get to learn more and more about technology by such modern practices, and it becomes and ever evolving and ever improving process. Using educations sites like Google Earth , etc helps them not only learn about geography but also about technology as well. Hence the dual benefits the students continue to get through the use of 21st century skills is clearly the results of a vastly improved and modernized system of education. • Social networking sites- Sites of social networking blends in enjoyment and knowledge together. As students ,educators and community members all log on to social networking sites like the gcepbd.ning.com etc, they are exposed to a world beyond boundaries – a world which makes a wealth of information available to them.They can share ideas stories,, information and basically engage in various intellectually stimulating interactions which will can significantly enlighten them.

Descrivete in quale modo il progetto ha ottimizzato la partecipazione di professionisti, ragazzi, giovani o altri soggetti: 

The use of 21st century skills has enabled not only children, youth and professionals but also nations to overcome the barriers that separate them. It has greatly improved the participation of all beneficiaries because of the following factors: • It has reaped in benefits of project based learning- Project based learning has made classrooms flat and boundaryless,and has made it so much easier for students to be interested in cross cultural collaboration.Participation rates have gone much higher because of the improved methods of teaching.Now students get involved in activities with higher levels of enthusiasm because the classrooms and the scope of learning for them is virtually unlimited. • Educators have found new ways of communicating with their peers- Now not only students but educators as well can communicate with their peers across communities and even nations just by the click of a mouse. Integrating 21st century skills into the system liberates the educators to think innovaively and to share their ideas and their lesson plans on sites like epals , agenda 21, etc.Their collaboration with their peers and the subsequent benefits encourages all educators to participate more. • Social networking sites are now multi dimesional- The social networking sites play an integral role in the lives of students, educators and community members alike, and it is no longer just a hobby for the users- browsing the sites has become a very important aspect in all users` lives. The line between education and entertainment has become blurred as these sites provide so much of both. As a result number of participants keep going higher and higher

Descrivete in quale modo il progetto favorisce l'uso delle nuove tecnologie da parte di professionisti, ragazzi e giovani per lo sviluppo culturale e didattico: 

New and more innovative learning practices brought about by the use of 21st century skills enable users to derive maximum benefit from the education system.. Every edcucator in each host school receives some technical training to overcome any anti-technology prejudice borne of unfamiliarity. Detailed training in using technology not only makes them more tech savvy but also makes them more keen to learn more and more about the use of ICT. As a result we have a more tech savvy and knowledgeable set of educators.. In addition to technical training, educators at each host school receive specific training to enable them to integrate technology into their school’s general educational objectives. These educators meet at regular intervals to support each others efforts and share best practices. Children and youth of course learn the the benefits that technology can bring into their lives once they are given training in 21st century skills, consequently they get more and more engaged in using ICT . By engaging in webconferences, social networking sites, global collaborative projects they not only learn more but also polish up their skills at using ICT. The entire project is so engaging that it becomes a continuos process of learning more about ICT.the benefits that the users derive are multi faceted in nature, they bring about not only educational but also cultural development, cross community interaction, etc.

11. Sostenibilità
Indicate la durata complessiva del progetto: 
Da 1 a 3 anni
Indicate il costo di massima del vostro progetto (in Euro): 
Da 75.001 a 500.000
Come è finanziato il vostro progetto: 
Finanziamenti pubblici o privati
Is your project economically self sufficient now: 
12. Trasferibilità
Il progetto è stato replicato/adattato altrove: 
Che cosa possono imparare altri soggetti dal vostro progetto: 

Significance of teacher motivation- Having a well motivated set of educators who are driven to promote academic excellence through the use of technological tool is essential for promoting 21st century skills. The project integrates the input of educators and students alike, who together can bring about a radical change in the learning process and the level of knowledge as a whole. Skilled and motivated educators can play a pivotal role in inspiring students and driving them towards change. Need of subsidy at initial stages- At the elementary of project implementation, subsidies from the government , grants from other organizations or other forms of financial support will be necessary since Bangladesh is a developing country and schools do not always hold adequate funds which help them fund this revolutionary project. Subsidies in the initial stages will not only make it easier to implement the project but will also provide an incentive to the schools to execute it skilfully and effectively. Importance of independent problem solving- Higher order thinking and skills of independent problem solving helps one make on the spot decisions and facilitates creative collaboration with other stakeholders. In order to be an asset to another entity, one must have the ability to make sound judgements independently and must be skilled enough to make and execute important decisions as and whenever they are required. These skills and abilities will promote collaboration as other individuals of the same calibre will seek to co ordinate with each other to bring about substantial impacts on the system. Requirement of curricula reform- The curriculum that the schools in Bangladesh follow is still fairly rigid and is not compatible to allow proper infusion of 21st century skills in the system. In order to promote the use of 21st century skills, schools must be flexible and must use unstructured means of educating the students so that learning can be a more hands on experience for them; it is vital not to focus too much on textbook knowledge but also on knowledge gained from involvement in practical activities. Hence the academic standards must be reformed in order to accommodate the necessary changes which will facilitate the infusion of 21st century skills.

Siamo disponibili ad aiutare altri soggetti a sviluppare progetti o a migliorare progetti esistenti: 
Siamo disponibili ad aiutare altri soggetti a sviluppare progetti o a migliorare progetti esistenti.
13. Informazioni aggiuntive

Initially our project started off with the implementation of the Global Connections and Exchange Program. While working with a diverge network of schools, we have become acutely aware of the importance of 21st century skills and what an integral role the skills can play in shaping up the lives of the students in the network. In fact, the educators and the academic system on the whole can be vastly improved by the use of 21st century skills and by using new and improved methods of teaching. We worked with the Bureau of Education Cultural Affairs (ECA) of US State Department and Global Catalyst Foundation and Flora Hewlet Foundation in the Silicon Valley who have provided us the critical funding to start off the project but also have shed light on the importance of integrating the use of ICT and the latest skills into the academic curriculum. We also worked with European Commission to promote technology integration into schools in Bangladesh.


Given the political and economic situation of our country, the implementation of the project initially had been fraught with challenges. The key challenge was the implementation of the project in rural areas, where there are consistent problems of low connectivity and frequent power failures. Lack of funding was another barrier; schools were not able to afford computers in the first place and hence did not understand the importance of technology altogether. Consequently there were fewer teachers who were motivated enough to bring about a change in the system, and even guardians of students expressed unwillingness to let their wards learn the use of ICT.The academic system itself was so rigid that it allowed no flexibility of incorporating 21st century skills in it, much less show any appreciation for it. Finally the political instability in the country posed as a serious impediment to bringing about any drastic change in the society.


The problem of low connectivity could be dealt with by using portable internet modems which provided on the spot connectivity. Solving the problems at schools which had no computers in the first place was solved by the establishment of Internet Learning Centers (school based telecenters) . school based telecenters not only provide community members with a place to use the Internet from but also act as source of income for those who operate the school based telecenters. Hence they reaped in cash which could be pooled together for future use. Finally, we have tried to collaborate with the Education Ministry to underscore the importance of 21st century skills and incorporate them into the academic curriculum of the schools

Future plans and wish list: 

What we plan to do in the long run is to enhance economic growth by expanding individual skills and competencies for workforce readiness, thereby supporting advocacy for poverty alleviation and sustainable economic development. We believe that in order for this to come true, the growing teens and the adult who will finally grow up to shape up our community will not only have to master core subject material but will also need to gain the cognitive and social skills essential to resolve complex problems of today. In order to do this we intend to partner with local organizations, companies, and government ICT ministries to launch a new curriculum which integrates 21st century skills education in the secondary schools targeting development programs for youth and young professionals in Bangladesh. We are currently working with Intel to provide hands on training for the teachers in Bangladeshi schools. We envision to work with the Ministry of Science and ICT and Ministry of Education to expand this training to more schools in Bangladesh.

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