Thesis on Women and Education- Role of Grameen Shikkha in Rural Bangladesh


The human resource is one of the valuable resource of a country. Similarly education is the main instrument for sustainable development of country. But great concerning matter is that educational attainment of women in Bangladesh is still lower in comparison to male. Gender discrimination exists within the family, community and all stages of the state. In a patriarchal society the family does not attach equal value to boys and girls. Furthermore, illiteracy among parents is hindrances for girls’ education in rural area. For the development of rural girls and women, Grameen Shikkha initiated Scholarship Management

Programme for youth and Life Oriented Education Programme for loan borrower women’s of Grameen Bank. To look in to this issue and its impacts on the life of girls and women in rural area I have selected the study area in Madhobpur under Manikgonj district. Respondents have been selected through random sampling and data has been collected through in-depth interview. Collected data has been presented as case study. I have worked with total 6 scholarship holders, 4 participants of life oriented education programme, 1 general girl student and 1 general male respondent. In the study area, given amount of scholarship is not so much, but respondents think, the scholarship is strength for them. Because most of their parents are poor and it is difficult for them to survive educational expenses. Now literate daughters are considered as an honor and glory for family and society. With the help of scholarship, female students are trying to overcome their limitations. But it is quite enough as many of them are still left of the programme. As Grameen Shikkha cannot provide scholarship for all poor female students in rural area. By literate with life oriented education programme now women can establish their role in family. They can actively take decision in family and also able to protest violence in the locality. Case study 9 states this. But entirely they cannot apply their education because male member of family are unaware of this programme. Education programme of Grameen Shikkha is trying to develop women’s position in family and society. So, on the basis of the study findings it can be concluded that gender disparity would not be removed without increases the awareness of male partner in this regards. However through life oriented education programme it needs to take initiative of male and Grameen Shikkha should increases the number of scholarship that would have bring the significance of the life of poor female students.
 Education is the backbone of a nation. It is the basic human right. Education flourishes the inborn qualities of human and there by enriches his/her ability and efficiency to work. “The importance of education in human development has recognized from classical economists to recent writers on development that education is critical for economic and social development (education watch 2002).”

“Today’s world there is still a large number of people who have never stepped into educational institution. In 2000 more than 880 millions adults around the world were illiterate and more than 113 million children were out of school, 60 percent of whom were girls (education watch 2001).”

Bangladesh is such a country where still many people are illiterate. After independency the Constitutions of Bangladesh obligates the Government to establish a uniform system of education and extend free and compulsory education programme. Though women constitute half of the population but situation is traditionally been adverse. “Statistics states that female literacy rate is Bangladesh was much lower. In 1985 it was 22 percent, in1995 it was 26 percent (source education watch 1999), and at present total literacy rate is 58 percent where female is 49.5 percent and male is 67 percent (source: Shumi & Rekha, 2006)”.

Traditional cultural, social, religious practices and patriarchal ideology have reinforced the lower status of women in society, and have limited their access and opportunity for education. In villages percentage of women education is much lower. Early marriage, pourda deprived them from education. Till 2002 it was 31.7 percent in rural area and 37.6 percent in urban area (source education watch 2002).

Since independency, Bangladesh has been exercised its purpose to create an educated civil society. So, emphasis was given on education. In 1972 Kudrat-e-kuda education commission was initiated. At that time in primary level female literacy rate was only 33 percent. In junior and secondary level the rate was 22 and 10 percent respectively. In this commission women’s education was emphasized to spread women’s working sphere and overall development. It also gave importance to newly establish schools for the welfare of rural girls’. In 1973-78 first five year plan gave importance on women’s education. Forth five year plan (1992-97) emphasized on compulsory primary educations for girls up to class VIII and Fifth five year plan adopted an ambitious objective to achieve the goal Education for All (EFA). Because Government of Bangladesh has realized that Education is the key to breaking the various cycle of ignorance, exploitation and empowering women and girls to improve their lives

Meanwhile worldwide many initiatives has adopted for women’s development. Many international summith such as Beijing+5 Platform for Actions (PFA), convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against women (CEDAW) are the significant way forward steps that also influence the strategies of planning in Bangladesh. “As a signatory country of international summith the Government of Bangladesh has adopted national education policy in 2000 which more commitment to education policy and plan to uplift the primary education to 2010 (education watch 2000).” In 1995 the conference Beijing+5 has emphasized more on women’s education. Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination Against women (CEDAW) sees education in the key instrument for women’s development. This emphasis is clear and reflects the scenario of girls’ education in Bangladesh.
Millennium Development Goal is a policy which is working for education. The goal says about gender equality in primary and secondary education by 2005 and at all level of education no later than 2015. It works with a focus on ensuring girls full and equal access to achievement in basic education of good quality. As Millennium Development Goal, at present in Bangladesh net primary enrolment ratio stands at 89 percent and gender gap in education specially is primary education is narrowing down, at an impressive pace-98 percent for girls and 97 percent for boys (sources-new steps 2006). It seems that Bangladesh has achieved gender parity in primary school enrolment.

As a follow up of Beijing conference to develop the status of women, Government of Bangladesh has developed National Action plan (NAP). Here education and training is seen as important criteria for the development of women. Inspite of this effect there is still discrimination between male and female in terms of access to education and training at higher level.

Beside the activities and initiatives of the Government of Bangladesh, activities of Non Government organization (NGO) in education are praise worthy. From the second half of 1980s the state has allowed the NGOs to experiment with a variety of delivery mechanism to cater for basic educational needs of the disadvantaged socio-economic household. To help Bangladesh government, NGO have been playing a complimentary role alongside the main stream primary education school of the country. “The latest statistics provide by the government acknowledge existence of 90 NGOs-run full primary school education watch 2001).” From the beginning BRAC, Proshika has been playing a significant role through Non-formal education system. The number of students served by the NGOs is estimated to be 1.4 million which includes 1.2 million of BRAC alone. Proshika give importance on adult literacy. Again save the child is working for education. Grameen Bank works to alleviate poverty. Paralally they also work in educational programme. In educational sector it contributes through two systems like scholarship management and education loan.

In this backdrop Grameen Shikkha in relation to education programme would be significant to study. As a sister organization of Grameen Bank, Grameen Shikkha has started in 1997. They thought that until women would not be educated and conscious about themselves overall development of the country would not be possible. So, Grameen Shikkha has taken initiative to spread the light of education through non-formal education programme. It also working to learn basic literacy and numeracy skill, life oriented skill related to health, legal matters, child development, civic consciousness, social services, income generation, business and professional development of Grameen Bank credit borrower women. Through scholarship management programme it works to ensure higher studies of rural girls. Financial support makes the girls confident to go forward and life oriented education programme of Grameen Shikkha contribute to change the life pattern of illiterate women. In the flow of educational activities it is a new step. This education programme put an impact on the life of rural women and girls. So, to see the impact of education programme on the life of adolescent girls and loan borrower women, this study is reasonable.

1.2 Objectives of the study:

o To explore whether education programme of Grameen Shikkha has an impact on the life of adolescent girls or not.
o To understand the changing socio economic status of women who are involved in Grameen Shikkha programme.

1.3 Research questions of the study:

o How education programme of Grameen Shikkha impact on the life of adolescent girls in rural area?
o What changes are Grameen Shikkha bought in the life of women who borrows credit from Grameen Bank?

1.4 Limitations of the study:

o As a new programme of Grameen Bank, availability of published documents related to Grameen Shikkha are not adequate.
o Time for the research is not sufficient.
o Focus group discussion could not be possible due to availability of sufficient number of students.