The net enrolment rate for secondary education in Bangladesh is still significantly low, but better compared to that of the past, according to the UNFPA annual report.
The ‘State of World Population Report 2019’ puts the enrolment rate at 57 per cent for male children and 67 per cent for female in 2017. But in 1999, the rate was 43 per cent for girls.
“It’s a huge achievement for the government,” Deputy Education Minister Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury Nowfel told UNB.
He noted that the secondary school enrolment rate for girls proves that female education in Bangladesh has reached a new height.
He said the government is conducting studies to find out reasons behind high dropout rate among male students and added that "scientific approaches" will be taken to solve the issues.
Meanwhile, the net enrolment rate for primary education has increased significantly for girls. It stood at 98 per cent in 2017 compared to 45 per cent in 1990. For male children, the rate stood at 92 per cent in 2017.
Debadas Halder, assistant professor of Institute of Education and Research, Dhaka University, highlighted the lack of initiatives as a reason behind fewer enrolments in secondary education.
“Secondary education receives much less attention compared to primary level,” he said, noting that increasing the cost of higher education also discourages parents from enrolling children for secondary education in many cases.
Bangladesh also has one of the highest rates of child marriage – one of the key reasons for school dropouts.
Deputy Minister Nowfel said the government is considering structural change and improving incentives support to see the gap between primary and secondary enrolment rate removed.
“Structural policy has produced better results in some cases and now we want to continue with a targeted policy involving all stakeholders,” he said.
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