Education has the power to transform lives as a main driver of development.  As the lead UN agency in education, UNESCO’s work encompasses educational development in all aspects of education from early childhood through primary, secondary, post-secondary to higher education -- in all settings (formal, non-formal and informal) and for children, youth and adults, offering expertise in the planning and management of education systems to help countries achieve Education for All (EFA) [AY1] and provide quality lifelong learning. [AY2]  

In Bangladesh, the formal education system comprises of the three stages: primary, secondary and higher or tertiary. In parallel is the Madrasa system (religious School system) from primary to tertiary. The responsible ministries are the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MOPME). MOPME manages formal pre-primary, primary (grades I-V), and non-formal education, literacy, post literacy and lifelong learning while MOE is responsible for secondary and higher/tertiary level education that has three sub-streams: general, madrasah (religious), and technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Other Ministries and Government departments, such as Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Social Welfare, Department of Agriculture and Department of Youth Development etc. also offer specialized education and training programmes. Government’s commitment to education, especially to EFA, is reflected through its formulation of different policy documents and its translation into programmes.

The Government’s commitment to education, especially to EFA, is reflected through its formulation of different policy documents and its translation into programmes, as well as through its signing of several declarations: Jomtien Declaration 1990, Dakar Declaration 2000, E-9 Declaration 1993 and United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) 2003-2012. The Government also established an EFA Steering Committee in 2000 and an EFA Forum in 2002 for better planning, implementation and coordination of EFA targets. 

UNESCO Dhaka has been working with and assisted government counterparts in the planning and management of the education sector activities, especially MOE and MOPME.

Key areas UNESCO is engaged within education in Bangladesh is at policy as well as implementation level in EFA, Literacy and Non-formal education, TVET especially pre-voc I and pre-voc II, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Gender and more specifically:

  • Strengthening the capacity of policy makers, planners and managers for developing and implementing effective literacy policies, strategies and plans.
  • Strengthening capacity in establishing NFE delivery mechanism, EE and NFE Management Information system (MIS) linking with existing Education Management Information System (EMIS) from center to grass-root level.
  • Building capacity of key actors to deliver good quality literacy and non-formal education for disadvantaged populations that are gender-sensitive.
  • Promotion of inclusive education. 

Ongoing Projects/Programmes

Capacity Building:

  • Promotion of Mother Tongue based Education and Capacity Building of NFE Personnel.
  • Strengthening teachers’ capacity and status to enhance quality of education.
  • Capacity Building for Education for All (CapEFA)
  • Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (CCESD)

Model Development: 

  • Advancing Mobile Literacy Learning 

Main achievements in recent years

In close cooperation with our partners, UNESCO Dhaka has contributed to:

  • EFA 2015 Review Bangladesh report prepared, approved by the government and disseminated widely 2015
  • Approval of Non-Formal Education Act 2014 and Early Childhood Development Policy 2014
  • Adaptation of Inclusive Teacher Education Advocacy Guides on Policy, Methodology and Curriculum 2015
  • Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Education (CCE) variables and indicators integrated in BANBEIS questionnaire for national education data generation 2015
  • Multilingual Education draft primer on 5 languages for pre-primary education developed in 2015
  • Multilingual Education findings ready for policy decision and report published in 2013
  • Gender Balanced curriculum and textbook for secondary and higher secondary level reviewed, finalized and published 2012
  • Equivalency Education, Non-formal Education delivery & Non-formal Education teachers’ standards framework developed 2011and used for formulating NFE ACT
  • Literacy Survey report 2008, mainstreamed and continued 2010, 2012
  • NFE Mapping report 2008 published and used for planning of NFE project such as Basic Literacy Programme of Government (BLP)

Implementation Partners

  • Government: MOE, MOPME, Bureau of Non-Formal Education, Directorate of Primary Education, National Curriculum and Textbook Board, Directorate of Technical Education, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics·
  • UN and Development Partners: UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, JICA, SDC
  • NGOs and INGOs: Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), BRAC, Stromme Foundation (SF), RDRS Bangladesh, Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB), Plan Bangladesh, Save the Children International·
  • Institutes and Academia: Institute of Educational Research (IER-DU), Begum Rokeya University, Institute of Child and Human Development (ICHD), BRAC University, Asian Centre for Inclusive Education (ACIE).;
  • Private Sector: Microsoft
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