Shohel, M. Mahruf C.
Transition from Nonformal to Formal Education in Bangladesh: An Exploration of the Challenges Student Face.
Saarbrücken, Germany: LAMBERT Academic Publishing.
This book is an attempt to understand transitional challenges face by nonformal graduates when they move to mainstream formal high schools in Bangladesh. Nonformal schools run by NGOs give disadvantaged children access to basic education, and prepare them to enter or re-enter formal education. However, there is significant drop-out amongst students who make the transition between sectors, despite the high quality of learning in nonformal schools. This longitudinal study aimed to identify the challenges students face in making this transition. The focus was on students themselves, with a combination of qualitative and quantitative research techniques employed including interview, questionnaire survey, focus group discussion, photo-elicitation interview, observation and documentary analysis. Ecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) was taken as the overall theoretical framework for this study.
Findings suggest that there is evidence of academic failure because of transitional challenges faced by the nonformal primary graduates at formal high schools. Poverty is not the only reason for dropping out from high school. The study aimed to identify priorities for better support to those students in nonformal education sector such that they can go on to achieve educational and other successes once integrated into the formal education sector. This study reveals that the protective educational strategies followed by the NGOs for disadvantaged children are effective approach to fulfil the immediate needs to increase school enrolment. However, the effort of providing education through nonformal system fails to link its education methods with mainstream formal schools.
In addition, the field research generated theoretical insights into educational transition and offered four dimensional characteristics of such move to improve theoretical understanding of educational transition. After exploring the theoretical underpinning the study suggests, both preventive and skill-development strategies are viable solutions regarding the problem of school failure and transitional challenges during high school. Both are based on pedagogical and transitional theories and may work as strong forces to keep disadvantaged children in school and motivate them for better future.
The findings of the study demonstrated that dropout data from two formal high schools closely matches the overall picture of dropout in high school in Bangladesh. The variations in academic achievements of cohorts of nonformal graduates in formal high schools presented here suggest the need to be cautious about claims in the literature.
Finally through this study, disadvantaged nonformal graduate students had a unique opportunity to have their say and voice. They have contributed to the emerging debate about nonformal education, to the contemporary humanitarian approach of educational development and to theories of educational transition.
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