ECD in Bangladesh


March 2016 Report From Mahmuda Akhter

In 2013, I became ACEI Country Liaison from Bangladesh and have since met some of the other Country Liaisons and the Executive Director of ACEI at the Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC) Conference in Manila, Philippines (December 2014), and at the ARNEC Conference in Beijing, China (October 2015). As Member Secretary of Bangladesh ECD Network and Steering Committee member and Country Coordinator of ARNEC, I have been disseminating ACEI announcements through newsletters and network channels in Bangladesh, and the Asia Pacific Region.

A General Timeline of ECCD Activities in Bangladesh from 2010-2015

2010 – The National Education Policy launched by the Ministry of Education (MoE) included Pre-Primary Education (PPE) as the first component of Primary Education and specifies that PPE is one year of education for children age 5+, prior to entering grade 1 of primary school.

2011 - The National Pre-Primary Curriculum was approved by the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education.

2012 - Resources and supplementary materials for the Curriculum were to be developed by October and implemented in the field by 2013.

2013 - Guidelines on GO/NGO Collaboration for Universal Pre-Primary Education (PPE) was approved by the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education. Based on the Guidelines, a GO/NGO Collaboration Implementation Plan was approved by the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education. A comprehensive Early Childhood Care and Development Policy was also approved by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.

2014 - In 2014, UNICEF and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) gave their attention to Early Learning Development Standards (ELDS). In May 2014, there was a national level, three-day workshop on Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS) Validation planning. For a clear understanding of validation, two UNICEF country experts were invited to share their experiences on validation in China and Bhutan. Content and age validation process to start through engagement of several reputed institutions in Bangladesh.

2015 - The ELDS in Bangladesh was developed following a rigorous process with the leadership of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) and technical support from UNICEF. A Technical Coordination Team from Bangladesh ECD Network has been involved since October 2015 to closely coordinate the content validation process to ensure comprehensive findings that assure highest credibility to ELDS. The contents of ELDS will be validated through three major methods: Key Informant Interview (KII), which is the in-depth review by domain-wise high level experts; Consultation (EC) Workshop with ECD Experts; and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with Teachers, Supervisors, Parents, and Caregivers. By March 2016, the content validation would be completed for starting the age validation process in 2016.

The government approved the Comprehensive Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Policy in 2013. The implementation of this policy needed a strategic operational plan. UNICEF assisted Early Learning Childhood Development Centre Project (Phase II) of Bangladesh Shishu Academy, who took the initiative to develop the strategic operational plan with support from Bangladesh ECD Network (BEN) as an implementing partner. The Strategic Operational Plan for the Comprehensive ECCD Policy is now being finalized.

Bangladesh Early Childhood Development Network (BEN) organized the 6th National ECD Conference in 2015 with the theme “Partnerships and Alliance Building to Implement the Comprehensive ECCD Policy.” The objectives of the daylong conference were to emphasize the implementation of Comprehensive ECCD Policy 2013 by utilizing a recently adopted Strategic Operational Plan of Comprehensive Early Childhood Care and Development (CECCD) Policy. The conference drew attention of the GO-NGO stakeholders to professional development and innovative programming on ECD and generated discussion about standards of ECD Stakeholder organizations.

About 170 participants, including BEN member organizations, government agencies and ministries, experts, and representatives of civil society organizations and the private sector, attended the event. Aga Khan Foundation (Bangladesh), Save the Children, Plan International Bangladesh, and Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) provided financial support for the conference.

The main discussion point at the event was the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with CECCD policy. ECD is now a specific target of development goals, which opens a new possibility as it is the first time ECD has been given priority as an international development goal. Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs Ms. Meher Afroze Chumki was the chief guest of the occasion. Ms. Chumki reiterated government commitment to remove all forms of disparity and provide support for those who worked for child development. She stated that government emphasized two critical issues—ensuring access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) for all children and eliminating early marriage.

Agencies/organizations that have been working on Early Childhood Education and Development in Bangladesh

Government-supported Project:

Integrated Community Development Project of Chittagong Hill tracts Development Board []
Early Learning Child Development Project of Bangladesh Shishu Academy []

Islamic Foundation []:

Mosque based child literacy program
Temple based child literacy program

Major ECD NGO Stakeholders:

Save the Children []
Plan International Bangladesh []
World Vision []
Caritas Bangladesh []
Care Bangladesh []
Action Aid []
Dhaka Ahsania Mission []
Grameen Shikha []
Aga Khan Foundation Bangladesh []
Concern Worldwide Bangladesh []
Phulki []

Educational and Research Institutes:

Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University []
Institute of Child and Mother Health []
Institute of Child and Human Development []
Center for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh []

National Level Network:

Bangladesh ECD Network (BEN) []
Bangladesh ECD Network (BEN) is a forum of governmental, non-governmental, academic and research organizations, United Nations agencies and development partners working in Early Childhood Development in Bangladesh. To know more information please visit the website.

For more information:

Campaign for Popular Education []
Bangladesh ECD Network (BEN) []
Ministry of Primary and Mass Education []
Directorate of Primary Education []
Ministry of Women and Children Affairs []
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare []
Ministry of Finance []
School of Public Health, BRAC University []
Center for Policy Dialogue []

Anne Bauer