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Human Story

"Don't say ‘we can't’!" Building trust with the people in Bangladesh (2)

–JOCV activities in Jessore–

Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs) jump into the community without enough experiences. But they tie a knot with Bangladeshi people at the frontier of international cooperation. They support the people and at the same time they are supported by them. They teach how to do it and they are taught. Here are just some of the examples of JOCV activities in Jessore, Bangladesh.

Trust based on the history --- Ms. Kozue Akatsuka

For Ms. Kozue Akatsuka, 34-year-old JOCV at Jessore PTI, Ms. Malina Ghosh, 50 years old, a teacher at the Institution of Jessore PTI, is just like a mother. "We go home almost every day. We talk many kinds of things including education or society on the way back," Ms. Akatsuka said.

In Bangladesh, there are around 81,500 primary schools and 16,500,000 students are going there. Since there are 361,000 teachers, 48 students are supposed to have one teacher. But in reality, 60 to 70 students have one teacher. Most of the schools have morning and afternoon classes, which means a student can study only 2 or 3 hours a day. Even worse, many of the teachers are not trained as professional. As a result, only 60% of the students finish their primary education.

Based on the Primary Education Development Programme III (2011-16) of the government of Bangladesh, JICA is now working on the technical cooperation project, "Strengthening the Capacity of Teacher Training in PTIs to Improve Classroom Teaching (Phase 2)." Through this project, JICA and the counterparts are revising the curriculum and textbooks, and strengthening training system for teachers of science and mathematics.

Ms. Akatsuka was sent to PTI in Jessore as a part of this project. There are about 200 teachers-to-be and teachers in PTI Jessore training to improve their skills. She supports her colleagues to make curriculum for them.

Ms. Akatsuka is a primary school teacher in Gifu prefecture in Japan. She took a leave in June 2012 for joining JOCV. "I feel more energy living with the children of Bangladesh. Kids in Japan seem to be always busy and more fragile compared to the kids here," she said. But she thinks that what the teachers have to do is the same in Japan and in Bangladesh. "What we have to pursue is children-centered education."

When she faces challenges, Ms. Malina gives her advices from her experience. Not only Ms. Malina has been a teacher for a long time, but also she had been engaged in JICA programs in the past. "I made a teaching material for calculation with JICA volunteer around 10 years ago. It was very useful and helpful," she said. From such experience, she may know how to work together with the JICA volunteers.

JICA and Bangladeshi government have a long history of cooperation in the field of education. Trusting relationship has been fostered through it and that supports the activities of young JOCV today.

PhotoThe building of PTI Jessore

PhotoMs. Akatsuka and Ms. Malina, and their colleague, Mr. Nazral Islam (Jessore)

PhotoRevised textbooks of mathematics for primary education (Jessore)


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