Country’s primary education sector has made significant progress in digitisation process over the last few years due to the sweeping changes brought by the government.
The Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) has implemented some projects on the way to digitisation like e-primary school system, digital textbooks and stipend distribution through mobile banking while e-monitoring, e-filing and e-pension systems are under implementation.
The e-primary school system has been designed to have a systemic recording, archival and retrieval of primary school data management.
The system has decreased school’s reliance on paper work and helped them and education offices keep track of the information.
This digital initiative has also helped the school management committees (SMCs) and teachers to follow the progress of individual students from the first day of their school through entire primary school cycle.
The data entered by the teachers from the school level is providing aggregate summary and analytical visual and graphical information of school infrastructure and teachers.
The system is showing the analysis of the entered data helping schools and offices to make effective school improvement decisions.
Thanks to the comprehensive data, the schools can also communicate with parents and the upazila education offices in the time of need.
To digitise the primary textbooks, the DPE has also undertaken a project titled ‘Interactive Multimedia Digital Content in Primary Education in Bangladesh’.
Under the project, initially, 17 textbooks out 34 have been converted into digital version while the remaining textbooks will be developed during the second phase of the project.
“Thanks to the project, primary school students are now learning their curriculum on tablets, laptops, desktops and mobile phones,” said Director General of the DPE Dr Md Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal NDC.
“These digital books also come in the shape of compact disks and contain attractive and animated charts, graphs, audio and video clips in the context of Bangladesh,” he added.
BRAC and Save the Children have been providing technical assistance in the project.
Besides, the DPE has uploaded digital textbooks on its website from where students can download them very easily.
The directorate has undertaken Disbursement of Primary Education Stipend using Mobile Banking project to disburse stipend to 13 million primary students into their mothers’ mobile banking accounts.
Once they receive the stipends, the mothers can withdraw the money at nearby Rupali Bank SureCash agents, make payments, or save the money in the account for future use.
The Director General said, “The system reduces hassles, saves time of the guardians and ensures transparency in the payment system.”
Under the project, public sector mobile operator Teletalk has given 2 million SIMs to mothers with free talk time for Tk20.
The Director General of the DPE has very recently issued an official circular for the employees of the directorate to present all the official files through e-filing.
The Director General hoped the e-filling will reduce corruption in official activities as it will ensure transparency and accountability.
The DPE has also introduced e-monitoring system in primary education and that no official will be able to submit report not attending the school.
The system will also get rid the officials of manual labour of submitting a longer monitoring report besides expediting the evaluation and monitoring activities, said SS M Ali Reza, deputy director (Monitoring and Evaluation) of the DPE.
In order to reduce the sufferings of retired teachers, the DPE is also going to introduce e-pension system very soon.
“I think the DPE is going to touch the best marked of digital era of primary education system through introducing e-pension system,” said Md Sultan Mia, deputy director (co-ordination) of the DPE.
Besides, the directorate provided computers with internet connection to around 1,500 offices related to primary education management across the country.
The DPE also established modern ICT lab in 66 Primary Teacher’s Training Institute (PTI) besides distributing laptops, multimedia projectors, sound systems to around 10,000 schools and modems to 5,432 schools.
The local-area network (LAN) was also established in the offices of the seven divisional deputy directors and 53 district primary education officers all over Bangladesh.
Around 40,000 teachers and 500 officials received ICT in education training to help quicken the digitisation of primary education system.
Besides, the DPE digitised most of its recruitment process alongside publishing different results through online.