|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The Government of Bangladesh (Government) aims at modernizing and mainstreaming madrasah education as an expressed policy objective. This is also reflected in Government?s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper as the madrasahs mainly serve the poor and rural children of Bangladesh and very much lag behind mainstream education in terms of teaching and learning quality. The external efficiency of madrasha education also seems low as most of the graduates remain unemployed or underemployed.
Madrasah education is a parallel system of mainstream general education. Within it, there are two streams of madrasahs covering primary, and secondary levels- the Aliya madrasahs that broadly follow the national school curriculum together with religious lessons and are recognized by the government and receive government subvention, and Qaumi madrasahs that do not follow the national school curriculum but focus more on religious teachings. The Qaumi madrasahs do not receive government subvention. However, currently there is a lack of detailed information on the status of the two streams of madrasahs -- number of students and staff as well as curricula. Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS) estimates that about 10% of secondary school population (age 11-15 for grades 6-10) was enrolled in madrasahs in 2005. It is not known if this data include students from Qaumi madrasah. The dropout rate at 76% for both genders with 82% for girls was very high. Internal efficiency rate was only 29% in 2005 for the grade 6-10 madrasah students. There are no other precise data available for madrasah education. Therefore there is a need to develop a comprehensive map of madrasah education through the combined efforts of Government including Ministry of Education (MOE), Bangladesh Madrasah Education Board (BMEB), Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME), BANBEIS and non-government institutions bringing within its purview both recognized and unrecognized madrasahs. This technical assistance (TA) would enable a comprehensive assessment of issues, challenges and opportunities and recommend ways to address them systematically.
The Country Partnership Strategy Mission in 2007 for the proposed assistance pipeline for nonlending products and services from 2007 to 2010 includes this Capacity Building for Madrasah Education advisory TA as firm for 2008. The TA will complement current assistance to the secondary education sector, through the ongoing Secondary Education Sector Development Project and the Teaching Quality Improvement in Secondary Education Project. Secondary Education Sector Development Project supports the implementation of several reforms to improve education in general secondary schools and includes some assistance to madrasah. Under the Teaching Quality Improvement in Secondary Education Project, all new madrasah teachers were to be trained in Madrasah Teacher Training Institute for minimum 1 year at B.Ed level. Madrasah Teacher Training Institute also received assistance to develop a specialized module covering religious studies for the standardized B.Ed course. At the primary subsector, MoPME intends to include primary level madrasah, under the umbrella of the Education for All:National Plan of Action (NPAII) 2003-2015 as the basis to formulate future support program in the primary subsector. Therefore, the proposed TA will be implemented in the context of overall school education subsector and will maintain close links with all ongoing assistance in the sector.