Education is the backbone of any nation. It is the single biggest determinant for a country’s metrics of success. In the past three decades, Bangladesh has moved from a 35% literacy rate to 74% in 2021. While the growth is commendable, Bangladesh ranks 128th in the world literacy index. It falls short by almost 10% in the world average literacy rate. The only solution to boost literacy is through the expansion of primary and preschools in both rural and suburban areas. This article will focus on how to start a preschool in Bangladesh, the associated proceedings, and legal requirements.
Why do we need preschool in Bangladesh?
Bangladesh holds a 98% primary enrolment rate which is one of the highest in Southeast Asia. Yet Bangladesh ranks low in the literacy rate. The reason is the subsequent dropout of students from the primary level. A study conducted by UNICEF shows that over 92% of the children aged 3 or below do not get into any kind of formal education and only 38% of the children attend some form of education at age 4. Primary education in Bangladesh starts at the age of 5 which reflects the high enrolment rate. The two-year gap between ages 3 to 5 is where preschools come in.
A preschool prepares a child to be inquisitive. The NCTB curriculum is followed from the primary level bounds of students in syllabus-based learning. It does not allow a child to develop a love for learning. Most children struggle in the early days which shows a general disinterest in studies in the later years. As a result, Bangladesh has a 17.90% dropout rate, one of the highest in the world. A preschool can easily solve this problem by introducing fun and engaging learning for the kid before they step into the formal education system.
How to Start a Preschool in Bangladesh
The process of starting a preschool in Bangladesh is preceded by a number of the regulations. According to the National Education Policy of 1997, the first 6 months of class 1 of primary education is considered a pre-primary period for a student. However, there are not any government-backed preschools in Bangladesh.
The existing preschool and kindergarten are mostly private initiatives taken by different authorities and NGOs. Since preschools technically fall under the educational institution as an entity, they must comply with the Registration of Private Schools Ordinance of 1962 and the Primary Education Act of 1951, and the amended act of 1974.
Step 1 – Developing the Framework
The first thing to consider to start a school is to create the framework. The process of registering the school happens in the second phase which will be detailed in the next point.
As part of the registration process, any preschool school needs to have a governing body, a building, an appropriate classroom setup, and sufficient teaching and associate staff. These are the primary requirements to be considered for school certification.
Step 2 – Certification as an Educational Institution
Preschools fall under the private organization category. Asa result, the school needs to register under the Registration of Private Schools Ordinance. Under this ordinance, the school authority/ founding body needs to submit a formal application to the registration authority. In this case, the registration authority is the primary and secondary education ministry. An application fee also needs to be paid during the submission.
It takes about 90 days from the day of application for verification and certification. From the context of Bangladesh, it is important to have the certification to avoid any kind of legal trouble.
Step 3 – Ensuring Compliance from the Local Authority
The school needs to have a NOC from the neighborhood/ ward office regarding its activities. It must comply with the ward rules and regulations while conducting class activities.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Preschool in Bangladesh
The aim to start a preschool is certainly commendable. However, the aim and the vision only become successful when students attend the school. There are a few key considerations that can help a budding school in its initial stage.
From the socio-economic perspective of Bangladesh, a preschool is mostly considered by the middle class, upper-middle-class, and upper-class households. So, the market segmentation should be done accordingly to attract them.
It is best to set up a school in an easily accessible prime location. It will help to attract more students from around the area. Also, it needs to make sure that the location of preschool is near the target segment of population for maximum impact.
The Fees Structure
There is a common misconception that having a lower fee structure will attract more students. In the education sector, this theory does not hold. Parents tend to ensure the best education for their children considering the target market for the preschool. To them, the quality of the education gets more priority compared to the cost.
As a result, a higher fees structure can be set up provided that it matches with the imparted education.
Marketing and Parent Interaction
Marketing is important to reach the target segment. Social media marketing can be a key tool in this regard. Different social media platforms can be used to showcase the teaching facilities, amenities, and different services of the school.
The school can conduct regular meetings with the guardians to keep them updated on different matters and seek their input. It will also make the guardians more reassured about the education department.
The Teacher and the Curriculum
Perhaps the most important aspect to consider is the teachers. Make sure the teaching staff is competent to handle toddlers and have the necessary training for it. The curriculum material should be carefully chosen so that the learning process aligns with the national curriculum as well as make things fun and engaging for the students.
The process of setting up a preschool in Bangladesh requires a lot of planning and initiatives. Yet preschools are an important stepping stone for the students who will enter the primary level of education. It can act as a strong foundation that will certainly help to minimize the dropout rate in the future.