Amidst the dynamic challenges entrenched within Bangladesh’s education system, the imperative of crafting effective policy advocacy campaigns has taken center stage. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) find themselves uniquely positioned to drive positive change in education, necessitating a profvound understanding of the intricacies involved in policy formulation and implementation. This backdrop prompted an insightful exploration into the pressing issue at hand, laying the foundation for the two-day workshop titled “EmpowerED: Education Policy Advocacy through Social Change Matrix,” organized by the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID).
Partnering with MDF Asia Training & Consultancy, the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER), and the Global Partnership for Education, the workshop took place from November 22–23, 2023, at Hotel Bengal Blueberry, Gulshan-2, Dhaka. 25 participants from different CSOs and CBOs were selected through a competitive application process for the workshop. The aim of this workshop was to empower CSOs and CBOs in education advocacy through enhanced understanding and collaborative application of the Social Change Matrix, which highlighted the importance of innovation, collaboration, inclusivity, holistic approaches, and sustainable development in addressing educational challenges.
The interactive workshop was designed with various group activities to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges facing Bangladesh’s education system through the lens of the Social Change Matrix. Attendees engaged in mapping exercises to identify key stakeholders associated with these challenges, making assumptions about the expected outcomes. The workshop also encouraged participants to envision the future of the education sector and develop assumptions based on policy dialogues involving bureaucrats, researchers, and policymakers.
One of the workshop’s significant outcomes was the formulation of individual advocacy plans by participants. Through policy dialogues and collaborative efforts, stakeholders, including bureaucrats, researchers, and policymakers, contributed to a collective vision for the education sector. The participants, representing diverse backgrounds and expertise, also reflected on their respective roles in shaping and implementing effective education policies.
The workshop concluded with a certificate ceremony, recognizing the active participation of attendees. Facilitated by prominent figures in the field, including Miriam Lindwer, Director and Senior Consultant at MDF Asia Myanmar, Alexander Towne, Education Consultant and Research Fellow at ACER UK, and Syeed Ahamed, the CEO of the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID), the workshop equipped participants with valuable insights and strategies for advocating positive changes in education policies.
The knowledge gained and plans formulated during the workshop are expected to contribute significantly to the ongoing efforts to address challenges and create positive change in the education sector.