In 1997, the museum started ‘busing in’ students from the various schools of Dhaka city to give them an exposure to the museum, show them a film on the emergence of Bangladesh and hold a quiz competition on what they had learnt about the Liberation War. Up until June of 2017, 195,140 school-children of Dhaka city have visited the museum in this way.
Project “Human Rights and Peace Education in the Light of History of Liberation War”
The reach-out school programme was expanded in 2007 when the museum was able to acquire a 40 ft. bus which enabled us to bring the museum to the reach of schoolchildren in the remotest villages of the country.
Currently, the programme is being funded by the Bangladesh Government. The Government is expected to provide funds for a third bus so the activity of the reach-out program has increased significantly. The objective of the reach-out programme is to educate the students who had not been exposed to the glory and the pain that the Bengali nation had experienced in 1971. Another component of the programme is to combat the growing intolerance and human rights abuses in the present society. Through this programme, students are taught that that tolerance has been an intrinsic Bengali trait for centuries and in the globalized world today, one of the most important needs of the society is to respect the otherness of the other person. Both this “global village” and the “30 Universal Human Rights” education was done through two series of cartoons drawn by two of the most prominent painters of the country. Relevant examples are also drawn from incidents of the Liberation War to illustrate these two issues. The programme includes :
• The Mobile Museum travels to village-schools in the remotest locations of the country and the students are shown the exhibits in the mobile museum.
• A film in shown on struggle for independence.
• A separate exhibition on “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and “If the world had been one village (outlining the pluralistic world that the students will encounter when they step into their world).
• Focused group meetings with students and networking with teachers.
• An oral history project where students above grade VII are encouraged to interview elders in the family to recount their experiences and heroism during the Liberation War. In the process more than 40,000 pieces of oral history has been collected.
• These written scripts are preserved in museum archives and also posted in the website (www.liberationwarmuseumoralhistory.org). The most moving and revealing stories are printed in wall magazines distributed to the schools.
The number of students in the villages who have been exposed to this reach-out programe so far is 531,000. In the afternoons, the exhibits of the bus have been visited by children from nearby schools, which were not part of the education programme and also by the adults in that village. An exact count has not been taken, but our estimate is that 350,000 children and adults have visited the exhibits of the bus in this way. The Bangladesh Government has been impressed enough by the success of this reach-out programme to have donated a second bus to the Museum, thus doubling the museum’s capacity to visit rural areas. The buses have covered all the 64 districts of the country and are currently doing the 2nd round.