St Marcellin School is located in the Moulovibazar district of Bangladesh and surrounded by tea plantations.
St Marcellin School, Moulovibazar opened its doors on the 2nd of January 2017 and facilitates secondary education for the children of Moulovibazar and Sreemangal districts, north-eastern Bangladesh, addressing in particular boys and girls from the tea plantation areas. With a shockingly low literacy rate of tea garden children of just 25%, there are very limited opportunities to progress to secondary school. Only 20% of tea garden children complete their secondary education. St Marcellin School also offers boarding for its students who would otherwise have to travel long distances to be there. Specifically, AMS has partnered with Lenity Australia to provide 75 full scholarships for children from tea plantations.
With year 6 and 7 now on offer at the school, the 2018 academic year began with 175 students, 96 in class 6 and 79 in class 7. As the year now comes to a close the school is pleased to report that 162 students completed their studies this year. While the percentage of dropouts may seem high at 7.42%, this is actually extremely low for a school in this region as it has been reported at other schools to be closer to 50%. While the reasons are not always known, St Marcellin School has endeavored to understand why some of the students left. We have summarised the dropout reasoning below:
- 2 girls had to stay at home to care for the household as their mothers are ill
- 1 girl was married at the age of 15
- 3 girls were discouraged by their poor results and not encouraged to continue by their parents
- 2 boys are suffering severe mental health issues
- 2 boys moved to another region
- 2 boys and 1 girl grew homesick as their family lived far away and returned to them
These dropouts reflect some of the daily challenges that tea garden children face when trying to access education in the region. Overall, the school cohort was 51.4% male and 48.6% female in the 2018 academic year.
St Marcellin School, Moulovibazar aims to strengthen the education system in the tea gardens as well as the individual abilities, knowledge, attitudes and skills of the students. The school requires additional donations to continue to build vital infrastructure so that it can expand the classes available for tea garden children. To read more about St Marcellin School or to donate please click here.