The relevance of formal and nonformal primary education in relation to health, wellbeing and environmental awarenessBangladeshi pupils’ perspectives in the rural contexts

Authors Organisations
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Article number1554022
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health and Well-being
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jan 2019
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This article focuses on issues beyond the academic curriculum, asking the question: how does the experience of children and young people in remote formal and nonformal schools affect their awareness of issues of health, wellbeing and the environment? The research is part of a wider study focusing on young people’s transition from the nonformal to the formal education sector, adding to the emerging debate about nonformal education and its impact on future educational development. The research was conducted in Bangladesh, in two remote rural sites chosen because of the different socio-economic backgrounds of the population. A programme of interviews and observations of students and their classes was set up in nonformal and formal primary schools and high schools. From each site, one high school and one madrasah were selected purposively based on the availability of enrolled nonformal graduates studying in Grade VI. Three feeder primary schools to each of these high schools were then purposively selected. Fieldwork was conducted in different stages with relatively short periods in Bangladesh of up to two months, with periods of analysis and writing in the UK.

Bangladesh’s nonformal primary education system runs in parallel with formal primary education. One of the main objectives of nonformal primary education is to prepare children outside schools to enter or re-enter the formal education sector. However, there are other purposes too: nonformal primary education programmes run by NGOs aim to reduce illiteracy; contribute to the basic education of children, especially those from the poorest families; promote the participation of girls in education; and support the Government’s universal primary education programme and its effort to achieve SDGs.

The results of the study suggest that there is an important contrast to make between nonformal and formal education sectors regarding issues of health and well-being, hygiene and environmental awareness among primary graduates in rural Bangladesh. The distinction has been made by focusing particularly on the issue of educational relevance from pupils’ perspectives and looking at the implications for pupil transition between these two sectors.


  • Relevance of education, Health and well-being, Nonformal and formal education, School transition, Bangladesh