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Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF)

The Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) has paved the way for civil society to become a credible and influential partner in education sector dialogue through its work with national education coalitions that represent local civil society organisations within a country.
CSEF was set up by the Global Campaign for Education in 2009 to support the core work of national education coalitions so that civil society can fully engage with and track the progress of national governments and donor groups working towards the EFA goals.
Primarily funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), CSEF demonstrates how the international donor community values civil society as a cornerstone in education sector processes. It is supervised by UNESCO; AECID also provides financing for non-GPE eligible countries in Latin America.
Since its initiation CSEF has supported 50 national education coalitions across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Carribbean, and the Middle East and Eastern Europe, all of which play an active role in campaigning, advocating and engaging with governments and donors, working towards quality education for all citizens, including those who are excluded and vulnerable.

Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) is a national coalition of NGOs working in the Basic Education Sub-sector in Bangladesh since 1990. It is involved in national and grassroots level evidence based advocacy and lobbying for sustainable and pro-poor policy framework with a view to achieve global development goals like EFA and MDGs along with national goals and policies like Vision 2021, five year plan, poverty reduction strategy, National Education Policy, Skill Development Policy among others for human capability enhancement. CAMPE follows NIDI (Networking, Informing, Developing and Influencing) framework in performing its role. It is engaged in CSEF initiative from the beginning and intended to continue its effort for effective diagonal engagement of Civil Society in pro-poor policy and practice change discourse nationally, regionally and globally through its diverse stakeholders.
Bangladesh made significant progress in education over past decades. The draft Annual Sector Performance Report 2013 shows that there are high enrolment rate for both girls and boys combining with improvement in primary completion rate. It also reported that to some extent the dropout rate has been decreased. There is also a decreasing trend in regional differences among sub-deists (Upazila) in terms of Upazila Composite indicators.
Establishing a uniform, mass oriented and universal system of education and extending free and compulsory education to all children and removing illiteracy are constitutional obligation in Bangladesh. In addition, Bangladesh is one of the signatories of the EFA and Millennium Declaration. In response to constitutional obligation and political commitment Government of Bangladesh declared Compulsory Free Primary Education in 1990 and enacted a law although full implementation of the law is still a challenge. There is large number of potential students still un-enrolled in the system combining with significant dropouts. Ethnic minority groups, children in difficult to access areas, disabled children, working children, slum duellers, and children from other social and economic excluded groups are lagging behind due to limited/no access to mainstream education opportunities.
Deprivation from education itself is a key element of poverty. The number of poor people deprived of education in Bangladesh is disproportionately high, and lack of education in turn limits their capacity to overcome poverty, thus creating a vicious and intergenerational cycle. Empowering people with knowledge and skills is the most vital component of human development. Education and learning have thus become key elements of poverty alleviation. Generally the education system in Bangladesh is yet to address the needs of the poor segment of the society. The quality and content of education is yet to serve the goals of human development and poverty reduction at a desired level effectively and efficiently. There is a general agreement that the numbers of institutions and enrolments have improved significantly at all levels, but quality of education is yet to get the momentum, especially in institutions where the children from the poor families get access.
The basic education in Bangladesh has experienced with both project approach and sector-wide approach. The initial Primary Education Development Program (PEDP-I) experienced an uncoordinated assortment of 27 projects. The Second Primary Education Development Program (PEDP-II) tried to overcome the limitations of the project approach and implemented in a sector-wide approach (SWAp). The Third Primary Education Development Program (PEDP 3) tried to emphasis on learning achievements.
The PEDP 3 is a US$ 8.3 billion program jointly financed by the Government of Bangladesh and 11 Development partners including ADB, AUSAID, CIDA, DFID, JICA, EU, SIDA, UNICEF and WB. The Program is using a “Treasury Model” where external financing is linked to achievement of annual targets for disbursement linked indicators (DLIs), general sector performance as per key performance indicators (KPIs), financial expenditure reports, and other conditions.
PEDP 3 is aimed to improve equitable participation in higher quality, better governed, and better resourced primary education services for all children. The components and focus area for program outcomes are (i) Learning and Teaching, (ii) Participation and Disparities, (iii) Decentralization and Effectiveness, and (iv) Sector/Program Planning and Management

According to the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) document, it recognizes the National Plan of Action (NPA) as a sector-wide program “fully geared to attaining and improving quality in all facets of Primary Education” though still there are 13 streams of Primary Education. Primary Education is compulsory in Bangladesh and the SWAp process i.e. the PEDP 3 is planning to cover all these streams to eliminate deprivation in basic education.

Climate Change is becoming an increasing threat for the coastal belt of Bangladesh. Therefore, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Life-long Learning and Alignment with Hyogo Framework for Action is becoming essential part of the educational development, disaster risk reduction and poverty reduction towards an enlighten society and sustainable development.

Despite improvement in the physical infrastructure development and Gross and Net Enrolment Rate, quality of education is still very low. There is high dropout (about 29.7%, DPE 2012) lead to low completion rate of primary education cycle. Very high pupil-teacher ratio (50:1 in 2012), low levels achievement of literacy and numeracy skills at the end of Grade-V (44% and 66% respectively in the scholarship exam) and huge private cost associated with education indicates state needs to put enormous effort to achieve the EFA. The 2010 Child Education and Literacy Survey (CELS) published in 2012 found that out of the 3-14 years’ children, 118,575 children with special needs were enrolled in various types of schools.

Number of primary school going children are increasing over the period but share of state run primary school children has been decreased over the period because of stagnation of public sector and expansion of private sector. Incompetent teacher, in particular in Registered Non-Government Primary School (RNGPS), Non-Registered Non-Government Primary School (NRNGPS) and Community School are another phenomenon in primary education in Bangladesh which results in graduating incompetent learners from the primary schools leads to inequality in the society.

The present Government have shown their commitment to improve the state of education. In this regard a National Education Policy has been adopted in 2010. A high level National Education Policy Implementation Committee is also formed to facilitate the process of implementation of the policy. Beside this a National ICT Policy has also been approved. A Skill Development Policy has been prepared in 2011 which is under the process of review and adopted in the National Parliament. The PRSP has been revisited and aligned with the election manifesto and Vision 2021, the political commitment towards prosperity. The Government has also prepared the Sixth Five Year Plan. The PEDP 3 put effort to incorporate a holistic coverage of primary education including pre-primary, madrasha (religious education) and second chance education. TVET and Skills education is getting attention of the policy makers and attracting youth and young adults to link them with the world of work. As coalition of NGOs engaged in education programs, CAMPE is keen to create a space to engage in policy dialogue as the civil society voice heard by the policy makers and engage the civil society organizations, in particular, the NGOs, CBOs and Professional Bodies like Teachers’ Union are engaged in policy formulation, implementation of the program and review the progress in a sustainable manner.
CSEF Project Objective:
1)    Formal civil society participation in education sector policy and review processes and engagement with policy-makers and parliamentarians are strengthened and better recognized
2)    Strengthening grassroots capacity to access and participate in education sector debates, through building awareness, knowledge and skills, and opening opportunities to participate
3)    Research and analysis of civil society bodies effectively contribute to government plans, policies, financing and practices that better achieve the right to  education with quality and equity for all in line with  2015  EFA goals and in developing the post-2015 EFA agenda
4)    Enhance impact of civil society engagement in the education sector through promoting partnerships, strengthening South-South collaboration, sharing learning, and facilitating impact on global policy processes

Expected results:
1)    Civil society voice reaches policy makers in a systematic manner so that marginalized segments of society share in benefit of the policy and practice change
2)    Citizens and partners of CAMPE are more capable to provide inputs into decision making processes
3)    Grassroots level evidence on exclusion and inclusion in education available to civil society and other stakeholders and used for demanding right to education with quality and equity, achieving EFA goals, and determining the EFA agenda beyond 2015
4)     The EFA coalition has a better understanding of changes in the regional and global contexts as well as on-going and emerging good practices which would contribute to strengthening the collective voice for advocacy, policy development, and effective implementation of priority agenda
Project Budget:
Total budget for the project is USD 267,340.

Time Line:
April- 2013 to December- 2019