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Sumaiya Islam, PhD Candidate from the University of British Columbia, recently visited and took part in activities at the Kajoli Teachers’ Assembly held in Nilphamari, has written a very excellent article on it as follows:

Kajoli School Teachers Annual Assembly

On the morning of December 21, 2016, a large auditorium of a local school in Saidpur was teeming with hundreds of excited teachers of the Kajoli School program. They had come from regions all across Bangladesh, some traveling very long distances starting in the early hours of the morning with their young children in tow, to join the assembly of other teachers. The occasion marked a much anticipated event for the Kajoli school program: the annual workshop for Kajoli school teachers and program officials.

Guided by the chairman and founder of the Kajoli school program, Dr. Shamsul Bari, alongside program coordinator Sharmin, the workshop discussions were designed to introduce updates to teaching procedures, recount past successes and challenges as well as brainstorm ideas for new initiatives to benefit the young students. Specifically, on this occasion, they went over new procedures to improve English and Bangla language instruction using interactive, game-like activities. The teachers enthusiastically shared numerous stories of student successes and superior scholastic performance in subsequent grade levels in standard school programs. The teachers also discussed challenges in ensuring that all their students were provided with a nutritious meal at the end of their school day, a hallmark feature of the Kajoli school program. Finally, a plan to grow nutritionally-supplemented rice and wheat was formulated with the intent to improve nutritional provisions to the students in the program.

Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the workshop was the sheer enthusiasm, personal sacrifice and dedication demonstrated by the teachers of the Kajoli school program. These were educators who truly cared for their students and wished to see them succeed. As an observer from North America, I felt like their personal commitment to ensuring literacy and education of future generations was the precise embodiment of what fuels the resounding progress and development in Bangladesh. It was a privilege to have witnessed this and it is my hope that the annual assembly of the Kajoli school program continues to grow and inspire teachers and students alike for many years to come.

 
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My heart leaps with joy every time I pass by groups of boys and girls in school uniform happily chatting away on way to or from school on village roads. I see the future of Bangladesh in them.
Such sights were not common a few decades ago. Clearly the efforts of successive Governments and NGOs to promote education in Bangladesh are bearing fruit. As a result even families that had no tradition of schooling are sending their children to school.

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Shamim Ahsan and Imran H. Khan

The three floors of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) located at Banani echoed with the sound of laughter and positive energy as crowds of eager children, their mothers and representatives from numerous NGOs and press alike gathered together at a Children's Fair organised by RIB. The children, all of whom are of pre-school age, belonged to the families of the most disadvantaged communities throughout Bangladesh. They had come from over a hundred Early Childhood Learning Centres (ECLC) established in different parts of Bangladesh over the last three years. They are all part of a project called 'Kajoli Model', an initiative of RIB to solve illiteracy in the poorer communities. Everyone came together to lackboards are fitted on the sides of the walls and children are allowed to draw and write whenever and whatever they wish to demonstrate the different aspects of this unique endeavour, in this low-cost model totally sustained by the local community. The fair was inaugurated by his Excellency, Kees Beemsterboer, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh, on December 20 2005. The whole day was full of activities surrounding the children and their involvement with the centres.

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Saifuzzaman Rana

The Kajoli Early Childhood Learning Model is a pre-school model innovated through action research. One of the earliest decisions of RIB was to support an action research project on educational needs of the economically under privileged community. The action research began on 1 January 2003 in Kajoli, a village located in the Sreepur thana of Magura district in the south west of Bangladesh. The main objective of the project was to develop an early childhood learning model specifically for children from the under privileged communities in Bangladesh.  By April 2008 this model has been adopted in 135 centers (villages) in 26 districts in Bangladesh. This was possible because RIB solicited interest from individual volunteers to actively involve the community in setting up a learning centre and sustaining it. The volunteer was to be seen as an Agroni or champion. An advertisement in the media has led to numerous applications. RIB is still being inundated by applications from prospective Agronis to help give necessary technical assistance like training, advice and logistic support to help open more centers in disadvantaged communities all over the country.

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