JAPAN PRIZE 2006 : Program Details

Special Prizes
The National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan Prize
Program Title: Education on the Boat: hope for tomorrow
Organization: Bangladesh Open University (BOU)
Country: Bangladesh
Bangladesh is an under-developed country in South Asia. The literacy rate is the lowest (38%) among developing countries. Some areas of the North-Western regions are considered to be underdeveloped due to ecological reasons. These areas are fully marshland locally known as "Cholon Beel" and most of the year the lands are inundated by water. People only get one crop in one year. They have no alternatives to maintain their livelihoods without fishing. Traveling by boat is the only means of transportation for communication. Poverty is widespread. Due to the scarcity of highland schools, children do not go to school. In such despair in 2002, a NGO named "Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha" came forward with an amazing idea to educate the children of the impoverished regions. They tried to use the natural eelements of these regions ---- 'Water' and 'Boats' simultaneously to build up a scheme called "Education on the Boat". Within four years, the scheme "Education on the Boat" gradually decreased the school's dropout rate and indirectly changed many children's lives. Only education can significantly change people's lives.
Jury Comment
From a country with a 38% literacy rate we heard about the struggle to find alternative ways to implement education.
The idea for this documentary took us into the isolated poverty-stricken areas of Bangladesh marshland.
With a boat being the only means of transportation, the children of the area simply did not attend school. We heard of how four years ago one man dared to introduce a scheme called "Education on the Boat". Since then 87,000 families have benefited from the scheme as every day many boats now travel to these isolated villages to collect students for lessons.
All the jurors were impressed with the results that have already been achieved and how the work continues as many more boats have joined together to not only provide education but to supply other resources like medical services and supplies, power and telecommunications.
This is a powerful message for its intended audience of pulling together, embracing new ideas and co-operating to achieve growth in an otherwise ignored area of the country.
Producer's Comments
K.M. Taj-Biul Hasan

As a producer I am very much delighted and feel proud to win this prestigious prize. It's a big honor for my country and my organization (BOU), as well as those people who introduced this unique concept 'Education on Boat' to overcome economic and ecological drawbacks. During the past thirty-five years of Bangladesh's independence, my country has been struggling to ensure education to all, which has not always been successful.
This UNESCO JAPAN PRIZE-2007 will help promote education in areas where it is usually a considerable challenge to provide education due to economic, climatic, and environmental adversities. As the language of film is universal and a single frame can be more powerful than many words, I hope that this documentary will help parents and educators all over the world to take necessary actions to promote education in any given situation. I hope that my documentary will inspire educators all over the world to creatively reach out to many children and not be discouraged by difficulties and adversities, as education is the mandatory clause for human development. This prize has encouraged me to continue to create educational program for the well being of human beings.