The boat schools ensure different dimensions of students’ wellbeing holistically
Three Bangladeshi schools, all from Brac, have been selected among 100 schools from across the globe to showcase their best practices and promote a higher and better standard of education for all during the ongoing World Education Week.
The schools are Vati Jamalgor Brac Primary Boat School, Kandapara Poshchim Brac Primary School, and Sauderosri Brac Primary School.
T4, a global forum dedicated to teachers’ development, is holding this event virtually due to Covid-19 pandemic from Monday to Friday. Each selected school will host an event during the week and those will be live streamed around the world.
On the inaugural day on Monday, Brac held an hour long session titled “Making schools more resilient to climate change” on Vati Jamalgor Brac Primary Boat School—a boat-school that became the classroom for the children of low lying haor areas of Tahirpur in Sunamganj.
State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Md Zakir Hossen inaugurated the event Monday.
Mahbuba Nasrin, professor and director of University of Dhaka’s Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies, and Dr Safiqul Islam, director of Brac Education Program, joined the event which was moderated by Brac Director Nobonita Chowdhury.
A gem of an innovation in educating children in remote areas, the boat school showcased the idea of taking education to those who cannot go to schools and are at the risk of dropping out.
A total of 600 such boat schools are currently operating in 16 low-lying districts across the country and teachers of all these schools are local females who teach 30 students in each class.
At the event, Zakir emphasized on students’ usual movement and environment of sharing with their classmates.
He said: “The impact of Covid-19 restrictions has gone beyond affecting classroom learning as school closures limit children’s interaction with others, playing in the field, moving freely, coming into contact with teachers and enjoying the overall school environment. Such a situation could potentially lead to stigma or prejudice.”
Prof Mahbuba explained how these boat schools personify the idea of climate resilience.
“Brac has gone with the no-plastic policy and this is one of the several climate-resilient habits that the boat schools also adopted. The students of this school are aware of recycling, reduction, and reuse.
“Even the schools incorporate regional curriculum and climate change and environmental education materials to make the students ready for combating the consequences of climate change and transforming their lives toward a sustainable future,” she said.
The school system usually addresses the issue of wellbeing holistically, Brac Director Safiqul said, adding that the boat schools ensure different dimensions of students’ wellbeing such as physical, intellectual, social-emotional, and environmental wellbeing.
Speakers emphasized on how the students of boat schools adapt to complete their five-year primary education within four years without compromising any content, competence, or quality. They also explained how the idea of boat schools can assist the spread of education in a world affected by climate change.