How can the Community be Motivated?

Community motivation; Photo credit:
Community motivation; Photo credit:
Ratan Kumar Sarkar
Written by Ratan Kumar Sarkar

A tale of Ranibari Union

It is a tale of a union, suppose its name is Ranibari. Ranibari is not so far from the capital city, maybe 35 kilometers away from the capital Dhaka. Still, it was not advanced in many of the development indicators like girls’ education, net enrollment in primary schools, quality education, sanitation and health services etc. in the millennium year. The awareness level of the parents was also not high and child marriage was correspondingly in practice. The economic condition of the community was moderately good and many of the young people of that area were abroad for earnings.

The teaching-learning process in primary and secondary schools was conventional and monotonous; teachers used to stick in the classroom and corporal punishment was a regular phenomenon. Parents thought, giving punishment was a right of the teachers as they were the authority for providing education. Prevailing that condition as a common reality, a change was tried to introduce among the community. A series of dialogue and conversation was arranged among the community people, education activists and program people of an international organization. The reported INGO was a child-centered organization, worked for the benefit of the children over the world. Having a series of conversations, the community realized that children were their future generation, required many things to do for their development and they had the responsibility to intervene in the existing process and instrument for the betterment of the children.

Gradually, the awareness level of the community people grows up and they became analytical regarding their problems and issues. They formed community-based organizations and talked about their planning and doing for getting better output in every sector. The INGO organized a very good comprehensive education program, initially introduced in various corners of the villages. In the case of basic education, there were Learning Camps established out of school time for the slow learners of primary schools, who were not achieving better as classroom performance and in the exam. Having a better teaching-learning process and innovative materials, the students in Learning Camps, who were so-called slow learners started to perform better in the school classroom as well as in the exam. As a result, the parents became enthusiastic and demanded that the teaching-learning process and materials for the whole school and all students. The conversation started with the community and teachers. Some teachers were also curious about observing the better performance of the so-called slow learners and thus, they became convinced to initiate that teaching-learning process for the whole school.

Over time, the process started with some of the government primary schools. But the government education officials were not agreed to do the change in the teaching-learning process as they had a system to follow over the country. Consequently, the conflict started. The local education office ordered the primary school teachers not to follow any teaching-learning process except the government one. But the community got the interest, enjoyed better output. So, they put pressure on the teachers to follow the process, which created better results. However, the teachers were helpless and they had no capacity to disobey the order of their officials. Eventually, a big mob organized from the whole union, went to the education office, discussed with the education officials and came to a solution that satisfied the people and both of the parties came to a mutual understanding. 

Community interest and motivation

Everybody has his/her own interest. Generally, human explore and accomplish doings to meet and satisfy his/her own interest. This is common and natural. A group of people can be organized to achieve a common interest. This way, community can be motivated to the public interest or social interest. To ensure the community motivation towards public interest, it is to be clarified that self-interest is hidden within the public interest. When a group of people organized for a common interest, it evolves as a force and they become motivated to achieve that goal. So, without having any clear understanding of target and goal, which is based on common interest, the community cannot be motivated.

Right and awareness

The story of the Ranibari union is based on the common interest; that is the development of the children of the parents is within the development of the community. When the people who are even illiterate or a little bit educated, aware of the right they have, they become interested in being organized to achieve the right. The growing awareness expedites the discussion among themselves and thus, they participate to be organized, and motivation for achieving targeted goal raises. Generating motivation for the public interest is not an easy process. But this has been obviously proved through the Ranibari movement that the community can be motivated and raise their voice when they become clearly aware of their right. Nobody can get their right without having their own initiative.

Community motivation: Way forward

Education is a movement; it should be a movement. Without awareness and motivation, no movement can be evolved. We should make the people aware of quality education, involve them in a process to be organized and raise their voice for quality education. Eventually, the education movement will be evolved.

About the author

Ratan Kumar Sarkar

Ratan Kumar Sarkar

Ratan Kumar Sarkar works as a Program Specialist in the BRAC Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University, Bangladesh.

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