Teach For Bangladesh

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Teach For Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Teach For Bangladesh is a fellowship program that runs on the following model:

Recruitment and Selection: Attracting outstanding university graduates and young professionals of diverse backgrounds to apply for the fellowship. Admitting individuals who demonstrate the personal, academic and professional competencies necessary to positively impact student achievement under very challenging circumstances.

Leadership Development: Training and supporting Fellows through intensive six-week pre-service and ongoing in-service professional development to maximize their classroom impact.

Placement: Placing Fellows in full-time paid teaching positions for two years in under-resourced schools in Dhaka and eventually across the country.

Partnerships: Building relationships with leading local and global businesses and institutions to support Fellows and alumni.

Alumni Support: Fostering the network among alumni and creating clear and compelling paths to leadership, enabling them to continue to expand educational opportunity after the Fellowship.

Measurable Impact: Using data and reflection to continuously evaluate outcomes and improve effectiveness inside and outside of the classroom.

IMPACT: In addition to the immediate impact on classrooms, alumni will become the next generation of Bangladeshi leaders across diverse fields. Informed by their TFB experience, they will alter mindsets through example and advocacy by challenging the systems that perpetuate inequity.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Today, a child’s education and life outcomes in Bangladesh are determined largely by factors out of his or her control, including the wealth, income, geography, and social status of his or her family. Out of every 100 students that enter the primary education cycle, fewer than 10 graduate from secondary school. Furthermore, only about half of primary school graduates are able to attain the minimum competencies set out by the national curriculum. This crisis in our education system is sustained by school-level factors, socioeconomic realities and prevailing mindsets and beliefs. To accommodate large numbers of students, most schools run double shift. Students spend an annual average of 500 hours in the classroom, half of the international standard. Moreover, the average student to teacher ratio is 67:1. Teachers are placed in these extremely challenging conditions without pre-service training. Compensation is around BDT 4,000 (USD 47) a month. These and other factors lead to low levels of teacher motivation and high rates of absenteeism. Student performance also correlates strongly with the socioeconomic conditions of children. In a country where 80 percent of the population lives below $2 a day, this leaves millions of children disenfranchised. There is also a culture of low expectations for low-income children among the top-level leaders of Bangladesh who believe quality education for all is neither immediately possible nor immediately urgent.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Teach For Bangladesh (TFB) believes that education inequity is a difficult but solvable problem, and through our two-year fellowship program we are initiating a movement for change that will start in the classroom and eventually transform systems and perspectives across society. We will recruit bright young Bangladeshis who have graduated from top universities and place them as teachers in under-resourced government and NGO schools. TFB Fellows will be trained to go above and beyond traditional teacher roles and set high academic expectations for each student. Fellows will also supplement the national curriculum with materials that foster civic engagement in students and encourage community involvement. In the first year, we will place 35 Fellows in 12 to 15 low-income schools across Dhaka city. Each subsequent year, the number of recruits will continue to grow. While each Fellow will directly impact roughly 100 children every year, their progress in individual classrooms will be a force of positive contagion throughout each school and community. After being fully immersed for two years in the struggle to transform their classrooms, Fellows will develop a nuanced sense of the drawbacks that perpetuate the achievement gap. Their experience will hone their leadership, analysis, problem solving, and management skills. As alumni they will be equipped with the skills and motivation to become lifelong advocates for education reform from a variety of sectors.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Teach For Bangladesh is based on the model for Teach For America, pioneered in the United States by a group of idealistic college graduates in 1989. Twenty years later, Teach For America (TFA) can be called an experiment no longer. At this very moment, more than 9,000 Teach For America “corps members” are impacting over 600,000 students across 43 regions in the U.S. As a testament to its success in changing national attitudes, last year, nearly 20 percent of the graduating class of Harvard applied to Teach For America, competing for the privilege of teaching low-income students in struggling urban and rural schools. The framework has also found powerful resonance around the globe. Ten years ago, Teach First was established in the U.K. Today a global network called Teach For All supports independent organizations in 26 countries around the world that are working to eliminate education inequity by employing the same basic framework. Many of those countries, including China, India, Pakistan, and Malaysia are daily proving the enduring viability of the model in an Asian context. Teach For All works on the understanding that although cultures and contexts may differ, the basic nature of education inequity is similar around the world.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Schools serving the children of the poor across the country are failing in droves to ensure that all students attend school, complete their education, achieve rigorously-set and assessed competencies, and graduate with the ability and opportunity to determine their own paths in life. Simultaneously, schools serving the children of the upper middle and elite classes are experiencing stunning success, churning out students who graduate from top national and international universities who are able to exercise a great deal of agency in the course of their lives. Many young people from privileged backgrounds live deeply insulated within their socioeconomic class and are rarely provoked, encouraged or given the opportunity to learn about or engage meaningfully with others. Teach For Bangladesh offers them a constructive opportunity to tackle our nation's biggest crisis. Findings from focus group discussions with potential recruits have been informative in shaping our marketing and recruitment strategy. Encouragingly, nine out of ten students surveyed at BRAC University believe TFB can help end education inequity and would consider applying for a Teach For Bangladesh Fellowship. We find that there is a strong aspiration among some of these university students to reinvent our education system, and TFB offers an opportunity to fulfill this aspiration.