Many children are also excluded from schools for sitting on back benches, wearing dirty clothes and not being among the top tier in their classes, says a study.
It says these children are branded as bad students and remain largely ignored and overlooked by their teachers.
This label of being a bad student spreads beyond the class to homes and communities, where the children are mistreated and excluded. They end up receiving poor education or dropping out of the school, the study says.
The study titled “Exploring the Dynamics of Exclusion in Education” was conducted on 183 children in 17 schools of four districts in the country.
The Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB) conducted the study in collaboration with Save the Children Sweden Denmark.
The findings of the research were unveiled at a programme at the Spectra Convention Centre in the city yesterday.
“Many students are even excluded and mistreated for wearing unclean clothes or having unkempt nails,” said Sarwan Basher, research associate at FIVDB. “Many of them are from underprivileged families and therefore may not actually afford new clothes.”
They often face punishments for even the most insignificant issues, and lose interest in studies and suffer from inferiority complex, he said.
And they cannot perform to their potential and later drop out from schools, said Basher.
“Here, education is being used as a tool to create discrimination,” said Manzoor Ahmed, senior advisor at Brac University-Institute of Educational Development (BU-IED).
Speakers said more budget allocation is required to give more facilities to the primary school teachers to attract better teachers.
Speaking as chair, former advisor to the caretaker government Rasheda K Choudhury said the country’s constitution underlines education as a fundamental principle, which is more than just a basic right.
Therefore, the government has a major responsibility to ensure quality education for all, said Choudhury, who is also the executive director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE).
Members of the parliament MA Mannan and Hafiz Ahmed Majumdar, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr Qazi Khaliquzzaman Ahmad and Country Director of Save the Children Sweden-Denmark Birgit Lundbak also spoke.