The national literacy rate is approximately 58%. A large percentage of Bangladeshis 15 years and older cannot read or write. Districts in which AOB operates have a lower rate because a majority of the people do not speak Bangla as their mother tongue. We seek to make primary/secondary and higher education available to more children in southern Bangladesh, particularly to girls and children from poor or disadvantaged families. We seek sponsorship for Bengali and tribal children and sponsorship for village schools.
An important adjunct to our Malumghat Hospital project is a school to provide for the education of the children of the hospital staff and surrounding community. This school has been recognized as the top school in Cox’s Bazar District. AOB subsidizes the primary school.
Non-Formal Education (NFE)
Non-formal education is an organized educational activity that is designed for children and adults who do not have access to traditional schools. It meets basic learning needs of disadvantaged families and empowers them to cope with life. The simple, flexible style can be done any place that is convenient for learners, and it provides interactive learning without the pressures of homework.
Our present literacy course offers three levels of primers which provide basic training in reading, writing, and mathematics. The Bangladesh government also donates current school text books to our projects. The project enables most students to become fair readers within two years. AOB Literature Division publishes supplemental literature to encourage life-long education for these newly literate participants. Some of the programs are based in churches while others operate in homes.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
After the War for Independence in 1971, there arose a nationalistic fervor in Bangladesh that pushed for exclusive use of Bangla in all areas of life. However, in the late 1980’s, after a generation of young people had grown up with only minimal ability in English, national leaders realized that the modern world required fluency in English. Thus the current passion for English was ignited in Bangladesh among the poor as well as the rich. While public schools stress written English, AOB’s TEFL classes offer practice in spoken English; this further enables Bangladeshis to compete favorably in the domestic and international job markets.
The Baptist Bible College of Bangladesh, a ministry in leadership training, gives in-depth teaching to Christian high-school graduates. Courses also include practical Christian service assignments; students apply their faith, teach others, and see lives changed. BBCB graduates receive a diploma upon finishing each section of the three-year curriculum. Graduates pastor churches, administrate camps, direct youth retreats, seminars and clubs, teach at BBCB, and serve in local churches.