Purpose: This article reports part of a study focusing on young people’s transition from the nonformal to the formal education sector, and explores how the experiences of children and young people in remote formal and nonformal schools affect their awareness of issues of health, well-being and the environment. One of the main objectives of Bangladeshi extensive nonformal primary education, run by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in parallel with the formal system, is to prepare children outside schools to enter or re-enter the formal education sector. The study addresses the issue of educational relevance from pupils’ perspectives and looking at the implications for pupil transition between these two sectors.
Method: Interviews and observations of students and their classes were conducted in two contrasting rural high schools in different areas of Bangladesh, and their feeder primary schools.
Results: Where formal primary graduates focus more in high school on learning from their textbooks, nonformal primary graduates aim to put their knowledge into practice in their day-to-day life on a range of critical issues.
Conclusion: The results suggest an important contrast between nonformal and formal meducation sectors regarding students’ agency and knowledge of health and well-being, hygiene and environmental awareness in rural Bangladesh.