Gonobidyalaya (Community School)

To address the underprivileged people of the societies, BACE felt the need to establish special schools, which will be “School for Life” rather than just an institute to pass examination or to receive a certificate. Hence, ‘Gonobidyalaya’ i.e. People’s School, greatly influenced by the Folk High School movement in Denmark was established in 1981 with the assistance of DANIDA/FFD. The objective of this program is to provide life skills education and life skills training. The DANIDA/FFD phased out beyond the year 2008. Now the Gonobidyalaya Project has been running from its own income fund.

Khan jahania Gonobidyalaya, Bagerhat

Uchai Gonobidyalaya, Panchbibi, Joypurhat

There are five Gonobidyalaya in five different places of Bangladesh (Narayangonj, Bagerhat, Chandpur, Joypurhat & Chittagong).

Gonobidyalaya is a non-formal educational institution imparting life-oriented education and following a learner-centred, participatory teaching methodology. It differs from other non-formal schools in that it not only provides basic education and skill development training based on the needs of community, but also tries to instil into the students a wide range of qualities and skills, which would help them to create a better life for themselves, their families as well as for the community in which they live.

Target groups:
Each Gonobidyalaya has its own commanding area to enrol students. The target group has been defined to be the poorer segment of the population among the landless families, emphasising special attention to the school dropouts, unemployed youth and women in difficult situation.

Dr. M.A. Sattar Central Gonobidyalaya, Sonargaon, Narayangonj

Rangunia M.A.Chashi Gonobidyalaya, Chittagong

Gonobidyalaya Objectives:
The broad approach of non-formal education practiced at the Gonobidyalayas is aimed at helping the students:

- To develop their self-confidence and personality;
- To develop their understanding of life and society;
- To equip them with adequate general knowledge and vocational skills

Gonobidyalaya Activities:
The following activities are undertaken at a Gonobidyalaya:

a) A six month course in general education and in skill training for 40-60 students, preferably equal number of males and females. 40% of the school time is used for teaching the general subjects, 50% for vocational training and 10% for ‘Sramdan’ (voluntary labour)
b) Arrange short courses of 12 week’s duration for the local un-employed youths and the members of the community specially the local artisans.
c) Arrange seminar/workshop for the local community for 1-2 days duration.
d) Facilitate ex-student associations to meet in every quarter where they discuss their own problems as well as the problems of the community.

Panchagram Gonobidyalya, Shahrasti,

Courses offered at the Gonobidyalayas:

General education:
In the general section, the following subjects are taught:

• Basic Language Learning
• Basic Accounting
• Democratic Society
• Income and Employment
• Society and Environment
• Health, Nutrition and Disease
• Moral, Society, Culture
• Own Country and
• Latest World

Skill Training:

The skills taught at Gonobidyalayas are:
• Electrical house wiring & motor binding
• Farm mechanism (Lathe & Welding)
• Sewing
• Industrial Sewing (garments)
• Computer operation
• Embroidery
• Boutique
• Block making
• Repair of Radio and Television and
• Repair of Diesel engine, Power tiller and Motorcycle.

Physical facilities available at the Gonobidyalayas:

Each Gonobidyalaya has the following facilities:

a. Administrative rooms, and classrooms for conducting theoretical classes
b. Well-equipped workshop for imparting technical skill
c. A specious dining cum assembly hall for arranging seminar, workshop etc.
d. Playground/open space
e. Agricultural land and horticulture for income generating activities
f. Residential quarters for the Principal and other staffs.