Bangladesh floods take heavy toll on education

Classroom activities were suspended at 4,000 primary and 917 secondary schools and were partially affected in 102 secondary schools in 18 districts till July 3.

Mohiuddin Alamgir

Mohiuddin Alamgir

The Daily Star


A man tries to collect drinking water from a tubewell in calf-deep floodwater in Paroirchak area by the Sylhet-Fenchuganj road in Dakshinsuram upazila yesterday. As floodwater is slowly receding in many areas across Sylhet division, sludge is beginning to float up, rendering many houses and areas still unworthy of returning to. PHOTO: SHEIKH NASIR

June 28, 2022

DHAKA – Floods in the north-eastern region are taking a heavy toll on education with at least 5,000 primary and secondary schools in 18 districts closed down.

Either the buildings of these schools were completely inundated or water has started invading their premises, education officials said.

They added that many school buildings are also now being used as shelters for the flood-affected people.

Classroom activities were suspended at 4,000 primary and 917 secondary schools and were partially affected in 102 secondary schools in 18 districts till Sunday, according to the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education.

After a two-year school-closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students in flood-hit regions, many of them SSC and HSC candidates, will now suffer from learning loss once again.

The DSHE and the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) offices have been working on a detailed account of the damages caused by the flood to educational institutions.

Speaking to The Daily Star yesterday, Muhibur Rahman, acting director general of DPE, and Prof Nehal Ahmed, director general of DSHE, both assured that schools that faced damages would be repaired as soon as the situation improves.

Field level officials said many students also lost their textbooks after floods hit their homes, while many are not being able to study as they are having to move to shelters.

Mehedy Hasan, a student living in Sunamganj municipality’s Nabinagar, lost all his books in the flood.

His father Abdus Samad said, “I went to bookstores to buy more books for him but I found those too have been damaged by the floodwater. Now, he is not being able to prepare for his exams.”

Jafar Iqbal, the headmaster of Purba Pekerkhal Govt Primary School in Sylhet’s Gowainghat upazila, said, “The school has been turned into a shelter where 400 people are currently living.

“Until the school reopens, I cannot say how many students’ books were damaged. But I contacted the education officer, who assured me that new books will be allotted for the students.”

Prof Moshiuzzaman, member of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board, said, “We will replace the textbooks of flood-affected students according to the demands made by the authorities concerned.”

Districts in Sylhet and Rangpur divisions have been facing devastating floods for several days.

DPE sources said class activities at 4,000 primary schools in 17 districts are now suspended and the flood has affected at least 4,300 primary schools.

Nasima Begum, deputy director of DPE Sylhet division, said classroom activities of 3,272 primary schools — 1,185 in Sylhet district, 1475 in Sunamganj, 488 in Habiganj and 128 in Moulvibazar — are currently suspended.

Mojahidul Islam, deputy director of DPE Rangpur division, said classrooms of 423 primary schools — 394 in Kurigram, 110 in Gaibandha, 14 in Lalmonirhat and five in Nilphamari — are closed for now.

“Meanwhile, student attendance in schools that are still open has decreased.”

Of the fully affected schools — 35 are in Habiganj, 288 in Sylhet, 265 in Sunamganj, 40 in Moulvibazar, nine in Gaibandha, 55 in Kurigram, five in Brahmanbaria, seven in Tangail, 28 in Jamalpur, 32 in Kishoreganj, 122 in Netrakona, eight in Bogura, 18 in Sirajganj and one each in Lalmonirhat, Mymensingh, Sherpur, Narsingdi and Manikganj.

The government on June 17 postponed this year’s SSC and its equivalent Dakhil exams, which were supposed to be held from June 19 to July 6, due to the flood.

“This year’s SSC and its equivalent Dakhil exams may take place after the Eid-ul-Azha,” said Abu Bakr Siddique secretary of Secondary and Higher Education Division.

Because of the delay in SSC exams, the HSC and its equivalent Alim exams may also be postponed.

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