For many developing countries, gender inequality is a massive issue, with most biases about women’s “roles” starting at birth. These prejudices affect the economy, sustainability and education. Girls’ education in Bangladesh is severely devalued, creating a limited amount of roles for girls later in life. Since the 1990s, Bangladesh has seen a steady improvement in enrollment, but there is still work to be done to ensure girls and boys alike have equal access to education.
The Quality of Education
UNICEF reports that there has been a rise in enrollment for girls within primary and lower-secondary schools since the 1990s. For boys and girls, this included a 20 percent enrollment and completion rate and a 30 percent enrollment rate specifically for girls. In 2003, the enrollment rate elevated significantly to 84 percent. Still, in secondary (teenage) years, dropout rates tended to heavily increase.
A great deal of this statistic can be attributed to the weak quality of education. When education is of low quality, it causes poor participation and attendance, higher dropout rates and lower standards of achievement. On average, about 1.5 million girls drop out of school or never attend.
According to UNICEF, 10 percent of girls never enroll, 34 percent dropout and 28 percent complete school, but they do not pass or they lack the necessary skills to find a job or go onto higher education. However, 28 percent of girls in Bangladesh complete school with acceptable achievement.
Rise in Madrasas’ Schools
One of the most efficient ways to ensure girls’ education in Bangladesh has been through the implementation of madrasas’ schools. In a madrasas school, children have access to civil and religious education, allowing parents to feel safe in sending their daughters to school without feeling like their religious beliefs are being compromised. With the rise of madrasas school catering to the more religious families and communities, more girls have been able to enroll in school.
The TSER Program
In 2017, The World Bank authorized $510 million in funding to help boost the secondary education system and student performance in Bangladesh. This project is called The Transforming Secondary Education for Results (TSER) Program and is set to assist 13 million students in grades six through 12. The TSER Program will further advance teaching quality and learning while improving access to education, paying special attention to girls and poorer households by providing grants and stipends to increase enrollment for minorities.
In addition, the TSER Program will implement an adolescent program to increase motivation to remain in school. It includes financial inducements for female students in grades nine through 12, while helping girls to feel more included by building women’s bathrooms.
Although there is still quite a bit of work to do in improving girls’ education in Bangladesh, the country is on the right track to successful educational standards. By ensuring girls are educated and not being forced to become a minority or be oppressed, Bangladesh’s future is sure to flourish with equality.
– Rebecca Lee