Around 4.6 million children of primary-school age are not pursuing their education
In enhancing access and equity in primary education, Bangladesh has made remarkable progress. The areas of success are universal access, gender parity in classrooms and reasonably high levels of completion.
The most major setback for children in primary schools is quality of education, which leads to low-learning outcomes and eventually, dropouts.
Under qualified teachers, inadequate infrastructure, poor nutrition and food security all affect learning. Many schools are overcrowded, and over 80 per cent run double shifts. Teacher supervision, monitoring and accountability lack strength.
Only one in four children in fifth grade have required skills in mathematics and Bangla, according to the 2013 National Student Assessment.
In 2011, fewer than 1 in 2 boys and barely 1 in 3 girls who completed primary education were functionally literate.
But even though primary enrolment is at 98 per cent, only 67 per cent qualify for secondary education and even less, 22 per cent, reach higher secondary level.
The majority of dropouts tend to take place at fourth grade, the preparation stage for the examination to pass primary education at fifth grade, as per UNICEF findings.
Children who suffer in case of learning may not receive necessary prioritization and support in classrooms as the system of education in Bangladesh continue to be heavily reliant on tests and rote learning.
Some 6.2 million children, that is more than 1 in 4 school-age children, are currently out of school, particularly in urban slums and hard-to-reach areas. Of them, some 4.6 million children are of primary-school age
Major barriers to accessing education continue to exist for marginalized and excluded children, most vulnerable to low learning and dropout rates at both primary and secondary levels. Bangladesh must also eliminate hidden cost for primary education, which is free.
In the worst-performing Upazilas or sub-districts, as many as 45 per cent of children are out of school. Working children, children with disabilities and children in remote areas affected by disaster are also often denied their right to education.
Natural disasters as well as harmful social norms contribute to children dropping out of school. While urban children are more likely to attend school, the number of children between 6 and 10 years of age, who are out of school is high within Dhaka City Corporation, showing prevalence of child labour in the Bangladeshi capital.
There are even more barriers to this list, which includes family poverty, hidden costs, disability, rigidity of formal systems and lack of alternative options.
Lack of safety and high prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse in public places contribute to girls’ dropout from schools.
Schools do not have functional water, sanitation facilities responsive to gender or disability, as well as menstrual hygiene, which significantly contribute to performance and attendance of girls.
Other barriers include family poverty, hidden costs, disability, rigidity of formal systems and lack of alternative options.