UCEP Bangladesh was established by Mr. Lindsay Allan Cheyne, a New Zealander back in 1972. With the motto ‘Help to Learn, Skills to Earn’, UCEP Bangladesh is a non-governmental organization which provides Second Chance Education to out-of-school children and Decent Work to youth & adults through Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET) and Skills Development. It has a special focus on social inclusion, therefore, gives priority to females, children & youth from poor and underprivileged communities. UCEP Bangladesh also aims to build partnerships with different stakeholders in its bid to promote the “Leave No One Behind” campaign by focusing on social inclusion.
UCEP Bangladesh’s Interventions in response to COVID-19:
UCEP Bangladesh is also proactive towards promoting the overall wellbeing of its workforces and conducive working environment across the organization. The management took a wide range of initiatives since the outbreak of COVID-19 to ensure safety and security in its programmatic and non-programmatic activities.
A) Administrative interventions
- Compulsory hand wash facilities with enough water and soap in all schools and office campuses to ensure hand washing before entering the premises.
- Allowing employees who are unwell or who develop symptoms to stay at home
- Ensuring a physical distance of at least 1 metre between each person in all settings
- Keeping employees abreast with the updated information as published by the government/WHO
- Keeping track of COVID-19 cases among employees
- Changing the use of common spaces in order to maintain safe distancing
- Cleaning the office vehicles on a regular basis with disinfectant
- Staggering shifts through the adoption of duty rosters
- Undertaking, monitoring and updating regular and rigorous clean-up and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces and objects
- Suspending use of biometric attendance
- Arranging mandatory COVID-19 tests for certain employees
- Wearing masks in the workplaces
- Introducing mandatory temperature testing while entering the workplaces
- Arranging webinar based different meetings/sessions instead of in-person ones
- Allowing employees at higher risk of COVID-19, such as expectant mothers not to come to the workplaces
- Limiting unnecessary travels
B) Programmatic interventions:
Pre-lock down Initiatives: Soon after identification of first COVID-19 case in Bangladesh in early March, following initiatives were taken as immediate actions in and around UCEP General schools, Technical schools and office campuses:
- Awareness campaign through setting poster, leaflet, orientation in around UCEP schools and exclusive training for students and staff about risks, modes of corona virus contamination, safety & protection measures, and what to do if symptoms are felt by one or noticed by others.
- Vigilant (volunteer) team in each school who have been active to take our efforts forward.
- Just before lockdown collected class wise students’ phone number for communication, special guideline to the students for their homework during lock down period.
Initiatives during Lock down situation: In response to government instruction, UCEP Bangladesh has suspended formal activity of it’s all 32 General schools and 10 Technical schools from 18 March 2020. During this lockdown situation, the following activities have been continuing:
1. Initiatives for General Education (32 schools):
- Established functional network with 95% (out of 16,256) students and maintaining regular communication since April 2020 using mobile phone with them through structured plan (One teacher for 25-28 student, communicating once in a week), for the following:
- Facilitating distance learning, tracking students’ progress of lessons from government run Digital Classes in Shangshad TV and supporting them to better understand the lessons.
- Providing psychosocial counselling to students to reduce the mental stress so that they cope up with this emergency. Also communicating with parents so that they don’t compel them for child labour, early marriage and other abuses rather support to keep up mental strength.
- The Technical team has revised curriculum, lesson plan, exam tools, reopening strategy for post lock down situation to better address the challenges and competency gap due to COVID-19.
2. Initiatives for TVET & Skills Dev. and UIST
- Established functional linkage with more than 95% of our total 5,789 trainees (enrolled in Q1: Jan-Mar 2020) and has been effective communicating on a weekly basis to continued trade specific distance learning activities for the upcoming assessment.
- Provided necessary guidance for safety, security and psychosocial counseling to the trainees.
- Conducted Online Capacity building training for 250 instructors on Digital Content Development
- Under skills training program, total 2,515 digital contents have been developed, and connected 328 online classes, where almost 61% trainees are attending in online platform (Facebook group).
- Under SSC Vocational program, total 291 digital learning content has been developed and connected 226 online classes, where almost 65% trainees are attending in online platform (through FB group).
- Supporting a2i to run digital classes: 35 competent UCEP instructors are conducting Digital Classes on different skill trade on a regular basis.
- UIST: Conducted more than 1825 online classes since April ’20; 98% student (out of 401) attended.
- Reviewed 23 Competency Standards (CS) by UCEP experts and ready to validate through workshop.
- Facilitate to provide cash support to 500 trainees @ BDT 5,000 (from GoB’s SEIP project).
- Till mid-July, total 13 Project Proposal (PP) have been developed out of 11 already been submitted to the respective authorities and another 3 PP (including 1 DPP) is ready to submit.
3. Special Commodity and cash support for most vulnerable student’s family:
Received cash and kinds-commodities through different channels in all regions and facilitated distribution to most vulnerable students’ family of UCEP Bangladesh: