Despite tremendous success in increasing girls’ access to schools in Bangladesh, including madrasas, 76 percent of girls in madrasas drop out before completing grade 12. Only 2-3 percent of girls attending madrasas will join the workforce. The poor quality of education, especially for the 1.5 million girls attending madrasas in the country, is a big concern with serious implications for the likelihood of a girl’s ability to complete a full course of education and to contribute to the national economy.
To improve the quality of girls’ education in madrasas, I have identified two paths of action that should be prioritized by girls’ education actors in Bangladesh over the next five years. The first plan aims to train all teachers in secondary Aliya madrasas in Bangladesh in English and social science teaching methodologies. The second plan aims to establish a functioning girls’ club in every Aliya madrasa in order to provide a space in which girls can gain soft skills training.
Esther Care, an education expert at the Brookings Institution, calls the A-F grading system “nonsense.” “Grades are mere proxies for what we value. What we actually value is our children being prepared for the future,” she said. “We need to find ways in educational assessment to convey information about the degree to which they are ready to venture out and to deal constructively with the huge challenges posed by our 21st century.