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Research Proposal

Miscounting the Graduates?
A case study on NGO-run NFPE performance in a Dhaka slum


Achieving Universal Primary Education has been one of important goals of Bangladesh in line with the country’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000 (Ref: A lot of NGOs in the country including BRAC, Campe, UCEP along with the government are working to achieve the goal. Many reports on the education issue indicate a significant progress with such efforts over the years (Ref: UNDP website). However, the progress is not as smoother as it was expected since many research reveal different obstacles with the efforts (Ref: Campe website). Poverty, along with some other non-economic factors e.g. girls’ safety in public place, has been identified as one of the main reasons which create a barrier for accessing education for many people especially in rural areas (Ref: BIDS web site). But this type of obstacle has been relevant in urban areas too in parallel with rapid rural-urban migration (Ref: DRC web site). The urban poverty is an increasing concern that encourages many NGOs to make their programmatic focus on the urban issues covering income generation and education. But such developmental programme brings challenge also as poverty persists in a higher level particularly in the slum areas (Ref?). The urban/slum shaped of poverty and vulnerability extremely limits the livelihoods options of poor including their opportunity to education. Though various NGOs are working targeting this group of people, such efforts are reported too inadequate to address the real needs on ground (Ref: UCEP website). NGOs have tend to overemphasis on their success backed by self-driven quantitative research and studies (Ref: UCEP, BRAC website)) as series of self-evaluating/studies earlier carried by UCEP, revealed a ‘satisfactory performance’ (e.g. higher number of graduated students) on its NFPE programme (Ref. UCEP doc). This type of number based overemphasizing may be misleading and may not be based on the grounded situation that can be re-examined through conducting a further qualitative research outside the NGO box.
Who does the problem affect?
The urban slum dwelling working children and their families as well as rural areas where NFPE is implementing.

What are the boundaries of the problem? Which areas does the problem affect?

Both urban and rural areas where NFPE programme is implementing
Assessment of NFPE progress will be questioned that emerged with an aim to safety net for including all children in education process
What is the problem?
Miscounting the graduate on NGO run NFPE programme

What is the impact of the problem?
Real picture of NFPE graduate is absent that can be affect both in Literacy Rate and excluding a number of students from continuing education

What will happen when it is fixed?
National Literacy Rate will increase with a little contribution of NFPE program as well as a suitable solution may be chalked out to developed a demand driven education system for urban slum dwelling working children those who are frequently dropped out from the school.

What would happen if we didn’t solve the problem?
NFPE school drop-out will be increased day by day that may create more vulnerability for the urban poor. Moreover, inclusion in higher education will also be reduces in this regards.

When - When does the problem occur? - When and how does it need to be fixed?
Mostly the problem occurred all over the year.
Before scouting and enrolment of the students in the school “Motivational” drive should be strengthen for different stakeholders like students, parents, community leaders and employers.
Social mobilization, public awareness as well as employer’s awareness raising should be strengthening to get their support and commitment to fix the problem.
Where - Where is the problem occurring? Only in certain locations, processes, products, etc.

Mostly densely populated slum dwelling working children where NFPE Schools are operating their programme.

Why - Why is it important that we fix the problem?

To reduce the NFPE school dropout with an aim to include them in continuing education as well as to develop a demand driven schooling program including syllabus-curriculum and school timing, etc.
Research goal
The main goal of the study is to re-examine the counting of graduates in an NGO run NFPE programme in the contexts of overemphasis of claiming success with its targets.
The research questions
# Does the NFPE School Graduate reports reflet the real picture of graduation of slum dwelling working children those who enroled in the NFPE scchol?

Research methodology
The research will follow a qualitative approach mainly taking a single school only in the urban slum context of the Dhaka city. It will applying in-depth interview (II) and focus group discussions (FGDs) considering the three types of respondents—community people, the teachers and the students. A total of 20 IIs, 10 with students while another 10 with the teachers, will be carried out, and a number of 6 FGDs will be administered with the relevant community people. Respondents’ age, sex, year of attending school and their socio-economic status will be considered to get a diverse representative of the samples. The research, in addition to the interviews and FGDs, will also apply observation method to capture the school attending performance of the students. Apart from these techniques, it will gather secondary information both from existing literature to conceptualize the drop out issue in urban contexts and from the school documents/to record the students’ attending performance (both enrolment and drop out) over the years.
Two research assistants will be deployed for the primary data collection which will be carried out for a period of two months.
The research will follow a narrative analysis approach to analyze the primary data.
Research Title or Problem Statement

Miscounting the Graduates?
A case study on NGO-run NFPE performance in a Dhaka slum