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Alumna from Bangladesh advancing digital inclusion in education

Posted: 7 September 2021

Bangladesh, Alumni, COVID-19, Impact, Inclusion,

Australia Awards alumna Rokhsana Perveen from Bangladesh is playing a leadership role in progressing training of teachers in inclusive digital education.

Rokhsana is the Assistant Director of the Directorate of Primary Education at the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education. She has been working to mainstream inclusive education in primary schools since 2005, when the Government of Bangladesh committed to strengthening inclusion in the education system. With the support of an Australia Awards scholarship, she completed a Master of Education (Early Childhood) from Monash University in 2010, upgrading her knowledge on teaching practices and global education policies. After returning from Australia, Rokhsana was immediately selected as a Pre-primary Curriculum Working Group member commissioned by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), which is responsible for developing curriculums and also producing and distributing textbooks at primary and secondary education levels.

“My Australian degree, especially working on my master’s thesis on early childhood curriculum, was highly relevant and enabled me to meaningfully contribute to the National Curriculum Working Committee,” says Rokhsana. “The confidence boost I received from my education in Australia and experience with the NCTB curriculum committee inspired me to take leadership roles in reforming education for inclusion in Bangladesh in the last decade.”

In 2011, she was promoted to Superintendent at the Primary Teachers Training Institute (PTI), which provides training to primary school teachers. PTI delivers an 18-month Diploma in Primary Education which offers basic teacher education for government primary school teachers. In addition to this foundational training, PTI also manages Information Communication Technology training programs, short courses, workshops, research and national eventsIn her role at PTI, Rokhsana strengthened the Institute and concurrently supervised the ‘PTI Experimental School’, specifically to enhance the quality of primary education services.

Her excellent work as a superintendent of Raipura PTI in Narsingdi District in strengthening the government’s inclusive digital education system was recognised with two national awards. In 2017 she received the ‘Best Superintendent’ award at the National Primary Education Awards. Under her leadership and supervision, the following year Raipura PTI received the ‘Best PTI’ award at the National Primary Education Awards.

Rokhsana receiving the National Primary Education Award 2018 for Best Primary Training Institute by the Honorable Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Additionally, Rokhsana developed a cutting-edge tool for quality primary education: the ‘Digital Innovative Resource Room’, which received funding from the Directorate of Primary Education. This project supports teachers in the use of digital content and multimedia in various teaching-learning methods to make learning more enjoyable. Rokhsana initiated the idea in 2017, and since then more than 200 innovative learning activities have taken place that are applying technological advances to utilise digital opportunities.

In 2020, Rokhsana began her doctoral studies at the Institute of Education and Research at the University of Dhaka. For her dissertation, she will be conducting research on how multilingual education could contribute towards the social inclusion of children from local indigenous communities in Bangladesh. “My Australia Awards experience is invaluable to my line of work,” she says.

Rokhsana is also involved in efforts to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural teachers and students. She designs and leads digital training, engaging in advocacy and creating opportunities to increase the use of technology in education. She highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in school closures and accelerated the need for digital teaching and learning for every student.

The theme for International Literacy Day this year is ‘Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide’. In support of this theme, Rokhsana says “Access to digital resources is a right for every citizen. I am delighted that  trained teachers now play a crucial role in inclusive digital education, narrowing the digital divide during this pandemic.” She adds, “The current pandemic is a call-to-action for us as a nation to ensure equitable access to education services and opportunities for every child.”