CREATE Event in Bangladesh
Round Table on Right to Education – Ensuring access with equity and Quality
7 -8 May 2011, Hotel Shonar Gaon, Dhaka

CREATE collaborated with its partner in Bangladesh BRAC University Institute for Educational Development and the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) – a Bangladeshi coalition of NGOs working on Education issues to organise a “roundtable” conference to coincide with the Global Campaign for Education’s Global Action Week 2011.

The event, titled: ‘Right to Education: Ensuring Access with Equity and Quality in Bangladesh’, saw presentations from Professor R. Govinda, Vice Chancellor of the National University of Educational Planning and Administration and CREATE’s partner institution convenor from India, Dr Manzoor Ahmed, Senior Adviser at the BRAC University Institute of Educational Development and CREATE’s partner institution convenor in Bangladesh, Professor Lewin, the director of CREATE and The Minister of Education of Bangladesh, Nurul Islam Nahid MP was the chief guest at the event.   Rasheda Chowdhury – the Executive Director of CAMPE, welcomed over 60 guests and the large media presence and introduced the theme of the event focusing on the right to education. She said, "We need such a discussion to create pressure on the policy makers for getting a Right to Education Act in place and ensure the achievement of EFA with quality and equity".

Professor Govinda gave a presentation on the implementation and challenges of the Right to Education Act, reflecting upon his experience contributing to the drafting of the legislation in India. He explained why the act was necessary despite commitments by the Indian government to ensure Education for All. The Right to Education has given people from marginalised ethnic groups and the lowest castes a platform to demand education for all, making clear, the state’s responsibility to provide quality education, and be the provider of last resort.

Professor Lewin presented an overview of CREATE research, explaining the conceptual and empirical work that the consortium has done over the last five yeas. He also highlighted some of the key messages emerging from CREATE’s work in Bangladesh and how they relate to CREATE’s conceptual model and work in other countries.

Dr. Ahmed presented some of CREATE’s policy messages in Bangladesh, bringing CREATE’s research findings and policy messages to this forum. He highlighted recent policy developments in the new National Policy on Education and discussions over PEDP III. He showed how CREATE’s research findings have and can influence these debates.

The event also saw the launch of the book “Education in Bangladesh: Overcoming Hurdles to Equity and Quality,” a collection of CREATE research on educational access in Bangladesh edited by Dr. Manzoor Ahmed. The book, published by BRAC University Press is the first research based book on access to education in Bangladesh.

In a lively discussion, most speakers were insistent that Bangladesh needed a right to education act, backed up with efficient implementation of the new national education policy. Another important issue discussed was the proportion of GDP spent on primary education. Several speakers demanded an increase of the education budget to 5 to 6% of GDP from its currently level of 2.28%.

The Education Minister, Nurul Islam Nahid participated enthusiastically in proceedings and made several interventions. He said, "I do understand that it is not enough to just have a National Education Policy. The challenge is its full implementation". He expressed his agreement with the key ideas presented and asked for all stakeholders’ support in implementing the national education policy.

Powerpoint presentations

An Overview of CREATE - Keith Lewin, Director, CREATE

Implementing Right to Education Act in India
Major Issues and Challenges
- R. Govinda, NUEPA, Delhi

Right to Education:
Access with Equity and Quality –
The Big Picture in Bangladesh
- Manzoor Ahmed, BRAC University, Bangladesh

CAMPE report on Round Table:

Bangladesh press coverage: