PPA/Unit 4: National Plan of Action – II (NPA-II)

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SLMtitle.png Unit 4: National Plan of Action-II (NPA-II)

Chapter Outline


4.1 Introduction
4.2 Learning Objectives
4.3 NPA-II and Primary Education

4.3.1 Infrastructure
4.3.2 Human Resources
4.3.3 Teaching-Learning Process
4.3.4 Governance

4.4 Summary
4.5 Keywords
4.6 References and Further Readings
4.7 Answers to Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs)

SLMinto.png Introduction

In the previous module we studied about the status of primary education in Bangladesh, and also discussed some of the initiatives of the Government of Bangladesh to universalize primary education, such as the National Plan of Action – II (NPA-II), Primary Education Development Programme – II (PEDP-II), and stipend programme for girl child. In this unit, we will discuss NPA-II is details to enable you to critically examine your local context and develop plans for an ideal school in your village or union level. Critically analyzing the provisions and recommendations of NPA-II would also enable you to actively understand and participate in Government’s plans and initiatives at local level. Though the NPA-II has a broad coverage including Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE) and non-formal education, this unit shall focus on the recommendations related to primary schools and primary education grouped into four categories: infrastructure, human resources, teaching-learning and governance. While, you study this unit, we recommend you to do the self-assessment questions as instructed and check your progress by comparing your answers with that given at the end of the unit.

SLMobj.png Learning Objectives
After reading this chapter, you are expected to learn about:

  • Discuss the rationale of NPA-II;
  • List the components of NPA-II related to primary education; and
  • Describe the provisions and recommendations in NPA-II for improving quality of teaching-learning in primary schools.

4.3 NPA-II and Primary Education

You know that to ensure free and compulsory primary education, Bangladesh Government has introduced National Plan of Action (NPA-II) which is targeted to be achieved by the year 2015. Government has acknowledged education as a basic right of the people to ensure the provision of universal and compulsory free primary education to all children. Bangladesh Government has developed NPA policy document to supplement universal Education for All (EFA), Policy Framework in the targeted spectrum.

As a follow-up to the world conference on EFA at Jomtien, Thailand, NPA – I was formulated in 1991 with targets to achieve by the year 2000. The basic goals of NPA-I was to enhance both the quantitative and qualitative dimension of the programmes it proposed and take up other feasible supportive programmes to attain the targets successfully. During the NPA-I period three major programmes were implemented for development of primary education: the general education project, 1990-1996; Primary Education Development Programme – I; and Food for Education/ Cash for Education and Female Secondary Stipend Programme. These projects have made significant contributions to the development of primary education in Bangladesh. Matrix on access and equity in primary education vis-à-vis NPA-I goals are given in Table-1.

Table-1: Matrix of Access and Equity in Primary Education in NPA-I
Source: Estimates of PEDP II Project Preparation Team, Oct 2002
S. No. NPA I Proposals Achievement by 2000
1. Add 143,400 new classrooms, 25,000 satellite schools of 2 rooms each) and provide water and sanitation facilities in all schools by 2000; introduce single shift schools Government has reconstructed a total of 31,011 schools, repaired 14,570; community schools 3,061; reconstruction and repair of 7,884 and 863 RNGPS respectively, schools in cyclone-prone areas double as storm shelters; more than 90% still on double shift, 87,000 new classrooms needed to convert them to single shift
2. Fill all vacant posts (5,650) and recruit new teachers (145,679) to bring down the teacher-student ratio to 1:50 and “60 percent of the new teachers to be females” As some posts are filled, others fall vacant, which tend to remain between 5-8,000; female teachers made up 33.9%, up from 21% in 1991 (37% in 2001), 39.2% in 2003
3. Supply textbooks and stationery free of cost as well as educational aids in schools Textbooks are provided free, but only limited stationery and educational aids
4. Improve/make curricula more science-based, related to life; improve quality of textbooks, and provide interesting supplementary reading materials to school libraries A new competency-based curriculum introduced from 1992 thru’ 1996, a revised one is being introduced from 2003; textbook quality needs further improvement; supplementary reading materials provided are inadequate
5. Use existing PTIs to organize intensive crash teacher training programs, set up new PTIs with modern facilities and open them to private sector teachers Only one PTI was added; some equipments added but not properly used; RNGPS teachers now admitted in government PTIs, resulting in double shift
6. Revise curriculum of teachers' training, PTI instructors’ and ATEOs[4] and organize immediately one-month training courses for 2000 ATEOs to improve in-service cluster training of teachers A new curriculum from 2003; PTI instructors’ one in the making; ATEOS (now AUEOs) given training in phases; no visible improvement in in-service sub-cluster training of teachers
7. Modify Ebtedayee Madrasah curriculum to bring it closer to primary school one; The matter awaits firm decision
8. Establish 490 (Thana/Upazilla) Resource Centres with staff and facilities for continuous monitoring of the quality of teaching in primary schools and conducting refresher courses for ATEOs/others The project is on; already constructed 143 URCs, others are at different stages of construction and planning (in 2003)
9. Encourage NGOs and CBOs to establish satellite schools for Grades I and II with government support for rental and teachers salary Only 3,884 satellite schools were established, with rental support and teachers’ salary (a lump sum) from government; NGO/CBO part not fully pursued
10. Strengthen DPE and its offices at district and Thana levels, introduce a Divisional set-up to facilitate decentralization of management to improve monitoring, supervision and support functions; strengthen institutional capacity of NAPE DPE: a Divisional set-up established and offices constructed at Divisional, District and Upazilla, including warehouses at district levels; decentralization has not been effected; monitoring, supervision and support functions yet to improve; NAPE capacity strengthened, but no appreciable impact
11. Improve the role and function of SMCs and PTAs for improved performance, accountability of teachers, and increased interest of guardians for regular attendance of children in school SMC functions clearly described, members provided training, which has brought some improvement; PTAs are not fully functional; teachers’ accountability not established; guardians’ interest in regular attendance needs further strengthening

As a follow-up to NPA-I, Bangladesh Government has introduced NPA-II in 2003 to establish a knowledge-based and technologically-oriented competent society to ensure that every school-age child has access to primary level institutions that provide all necessary facilities. The MOPME document “Learning to Change” has identified the following major challenges amongst others:

  • Appropriate school infrastructure with availability of school within the reach of each and every child throughout the country while school environment and contact hours would have to be sufficiently improved and standardized.
  • Child-friendly pedagogic approaches with emphasis on life-skills, awareness of social environments and appreciation of global knowledge resources have to be prioritized in the development of curriculum and textbooks.
  • A key challenge will be to identify and implement incremental and realistic steps to improve school governance on a sustainable basis with more effective community participation and meaningful oversight by sector administration.
  • Parallel to improving school governance, realistic strategies to improve sector governance is a priority with particular focus on (i) meaningful decentralization in relevant areas of decision-making, (ii) R&D on improving the system of primary education, and, (iii) capacity development of the Upazilla Resource Centres (URCs).

Overall the guiding principles of NPA-II vis-à-vis primary education is on ensuring equal opportunity for all school age children (6-10 years) to have free access to an agreed minimum quality of education, regardless of the stream followed (mainstream primary schools, madrasah, others) or by management (government, non-government, local government) of the institution attended.The NPA-II targets are given in Table 2.

Table-2: NPA-II targets
Indicators Benchmarks 2000 Targets for selected milestones:2005 Targets for selected milestones:2010 Targets for selected milestones:2015
Formal ECCE (primary School Attached) 22 (#1.0 m) (#1.0m) (#1.0m)
Non-Formal ECCE (Family and Community-based) 15 20 15
PE Gross Enrolment Rate (Total) 96.5 103 108 110
PE Gross Enrolment Rate (Boys) 96.0 102 107 110
PE Gross Enrolment Rate (Girls) 97.0 104 107 110
PE Net Enrolment Rate (Total) 80 83 92 95
PE Net Enrolment Rate (Boys) 82 87 91 95
PE Net Enrolment Rate (Girls) 85 89 93 95
Dropout Rate 33 25 14 05
Completion Rate 67 75 86 95
Quality Achievement in PE 05 30 65 90
NFBE - Access/Coverage 11 19 48 33
Adult Literacy rate (15-24 age group) 66 73 82 95
Adult Literacy rate (25-45 age group) 56 70 78 90

SLMsaq.gif Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) -1

Choose the right answer.
Check your resonse with that given at the end.

(i) NPA-II has been planned to be achieved in the year:
(a) 2008
(b) 2010
(c) 2015
(d) 2020

(ii) The NPA-II was introduced in the year:
(a) 2003
(b) 2008
(c) 1991
(d) 2000

(iii) The NPA-II document in entitled:
(a) Learning for Change
(b) Learning to Change
(c) Learning Change
(d) Changing Learning

(iv) Primary education is on ensuring equal opportunity for all school age children between:
(a) 5-11 years
(b) 5-10 years
(c) 6-11 years
(d) 6-10 years

4.3.1 Infrastructure

There are many primary schools in Bangladesh that function on shift system due to lack of adequate infrastructure. NPA-II plans to eliminate shift system by 2010. it also envisages that primary schools should be within easily accessible range closer to home and thus, community schools shall be established supported by NGOs.
Child friendly school building is vital part of quality education. An ideal school building should have adequate number of classrooms, sufficient air and light facility, plenty teaching learning materials, big open play ground, student’s common room, separate toilet for boy and girl, teacher’s room, library, computer lab and auditorium.
The NPA-II articulates Government’s plan for school infrastructure by 2015 as follows:

  • Every school building will have nine rooms each, where five of them will be used as classroom. One will be used for preschool, one for library; one for teacher’s room and one will be used as computer lab.
  • Each and every room will be full of light and air
  • Every class room will be spacious (Minimum 50 sq. m)
  • Each primary school to have two computers to be placed adjacent to the library
  • School library to be equipped with adequate supplementary reading materials to help develop reading habit
  • The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to foster creative potential of each child
  • Have flexible table and chairs (furniture) in each classroom to facilitate activity-based learning

4.3.2 Human Resources

Having adequate and quality human resources (especially teachers) are important for any quality school. The NPA-II has given sufficient focus to this aspect in terms of recommendations for qualified teachers, their training and continuous professional development. It also has recommended improved salary package for teachers to attract and retain quality teachers. Realizing that teachers are used mostly for administrative and non-teaching tasks, it recommends a complete focus on classroom and its aactivities. It also recognizes that to improve primary schools, particular attention should be places on library and other infrastructural facilities at the Primary Teachers’ Training Institutes (PTIs), and need for recruiting quality instructors. Revitalizing the national Academy of Primary Education (NAPE) by introducing B.Ed. (Primary) and M.Ed. (Primary) to encourage basic research is yet another recommendations.

Specific recommendations of NPA-II with reference to teachers in primary schools are:

  • All teachers should have at least Bachelor’s degree by 2008
  • All new recruitments in primary schools should have minimum B.Ed.
  • The Head Teacher should be BA and B.Ed. by 2008 and M.Ed. by 2010
  • All posts are filled in all the schools immediately
  • Teacher-student ratio is 1:40 by 2015
  • Sixty percent of teachers in the primary schools should be female by 2015
  • No teacher without training be placed in the classroom
  • Every new recruit without B.Ed. to receive 2-weeks orientation course covering pedagogy, lesson planning, classroom norms, and how to facilitate class and deal with children in a child friendly participatory format
  • Every teacher to receive 2-days training every month on subject-centered pedagogy
  • All non-trained teachers to complete C-in-Ed. From PTI within 1st year of recruitment.

4.3.3 Teaching-Learning Process

The heart of a quality school is its child friendly teaching-learning methods. To a large extent this is possible, if the human resources are qualified and are trained in child-centred pedagogy. Teaching learning in the primary schools should be activity-based and problem-centred to foster creativity and develop critical thinking in children. The NPA-II recommends that classroom environment should be improved by suing child-friendly and participatory approach, making the learning a joyful experience, involving children in school improvement and maintenance activities through group project.

Specific recommendations of NPA-II are:

  • Minimum class hour to be 35 minutes for Grades I-III ad 45 minutes for Grades IV-V
  • Teachers to ensure that every child completes the class and homework
  • Use of interesting reading materials to promote reading habits
  • Use of Continuous Pupil assessment (CPA) for Grade I-II and Continuous Learning Assessment (CLA) for Grades III-V
  • Quarterly and annual report card as evidence of performance of children is given to parents
  • Organize remedial classes for weaker pupils
  • Primary School Certificate as public examination at the end of Grade V

Thus, NPA-II envisages that improving the quality of classroom transactions in primary schools shall be useful in ushering a knowledge-based society in Bangladesh.

4.3.4 Governance

The NPA-II recognizes the importance of good governance, management and accountability. In order to improve the governance of primary schools, it plays a strong emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of School management Committees (SMC). It also recommends that the use of computerized Management Information system (MIS) to strengthen supervision and monitoring of school performance.

Specific recommendations related to governance in NPA-II are:

  • Operational SMCs in every school with specific roles and responsibilities as per Government order
  • Inclusive approach in school enrolment covering access to all school-age children regardless of their location, disability, poverty and other such conditions
  • Maintenance of educational statistics at school level covering the geographical area of the primary school

SLMsaq.gif Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) -2

Check your resonse with that given at the end.

1. Identify which of the following sentences are True/False.

(i) Shift system shall be eliminated in the Primary Schools of Bangladesh by the year 2010.
(ii) According to NPA-II, every classroom in primary schools should have 45 sq. m of space.
(iii) There shall be at least 10 rooms in every primary school in Bangladesh as per NPA-II.
(iv) Teacher–student ratio as recommended by NPA-II is 1:40.
(v) Two-weeks of orientation course is required for newly recruited teachers without B.Ed. degree.

2. Fill in the blanks.

(i) NAP-II has placed much importance on ___ for effective governance of primary schools.
(ii) Minimum class-hour in Grade I-III should be ____ minutes.
(iii) ___ should ensure that every child completes his/her class work and home work.
(iv) Parents should received ______ cards on the progress of their child in school.
(v) For effective supervision and monitoring, the NPA-II has recommended the use of ____.

SLMsum.png Summary

In this unit, we discussed about the Second Natinal Plan of Action (NPA-II) in the context of primary eduation in Bangladesh. We also discussed the rationale of NPA-II in view of the worldwide Education for All (EFA) initiatives to reach the EFA targets by the year 2015. Bangladesh is committed to Universal Primary Education, and had taken many steps under NPA-I to promote primary education in the Country. Taking the unfinished agenda of NPA-I further, you may recall that the NPA-II aims at establishing a knowledge-based and technologically-oriented competent society to ensure that every school-age child has access to primary level institutions that has all the necessary facilities to provide quality education.

The NPA-II also made specific recommendations related to primary education in the country apart from other issues related to Early Child Care Eduaiton and Non-Formal Education. The recommendations can be identified in four groups,viz. (i) infrastructure in schools, (ii)teachers and their quality improvement, (iii) teaching and learning in schools, especially making it child-centred and activity absed, and (iv) effective governance in schools. For each of these, it has made specific recommendations that we have listed in this unit. In the next unit we will discuss in details the recommendations of Second Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP-II).

SLMgloss1.png Keywords

SLMref.png References and Further Readings

Government of Bangladesh(n.d). Learning for Change, MOPME, Dhaka.

SLMfeedb.png Answers to SAQs

(i) If you have responded (c), you are right, as this is the target year for EFA as envisaged by UNESCO and Government of Bangladesh is committed to it.
(ii) If your response is (a), you are right, whereas, if you choose (b), you should note that 2008 is one of the implementation years. If you choose (c), you may note that 1991 was the year of introduction of NPA-I, and if you choose (d), it is time to tell you that 2000 was a target year in NPA-I.
(iii) The NPA-II document is titled Learning for Change.
(iv) Primary education in Bangladesh is between 6-10 years.

1. True/False
(i) True
(ii) False, the space in each room should be 50 Sq. m.
(iii) False, there shall be at lease nine rooms in each schools, of which five would be used as classroom, one for preschool, one for library, one for teacher’s room and one would be used as computer lab.
(iv) True
(v) True

2.Fill in the Blank
(i) School Management Committee
(ii) 35, and not 45, which is for Grade IV-V
(iii) Teachers, and not Parents
(iv) Report card (but his should be regularly as mid-term and final)
(v) Management Information System