Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Room to Read Bangladesh focuses on literacy and girls’ education where literacy rates are among the lowest in Southeast Asia. Our Literacy Program encourages fluency and informs national curriculum, while our Girls’ Education Program uses acting to help girls graduate and negotiate key decisions.


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Lack of Access, Resources Contribute to 56 Percent Dropout Rate

The Bangladeshi government prioritized primary education by passing the Primary Education Compulsory Act in 1990, making education through grade 5 mandatory and free for all children. Nonetheless, the country’s education system is still lacking in quality and accessibility. Bangladesh has one of the largest primary education systems in the world, with an estimated 18 million primary school aged children. The student-to-teacher ratio in government primary schools is 59:1 and students attend class for only four hours per day, creating a challenging environment. Access to resources is also a problem, with no formal library system in schools.

School completion rates and academic achievement in Bangladesh remain low; 56 percent of all students drop out before secondary school. Just over 25 percent of students achieve the expected minimum competencies of primary school by age 11. Educational access is particularly poor in rural areas, where schools are scarce and children often work to contribute to the family. Rural area literacy is about 30 percent lower than in urban areas.

Why Bangladeshi Girls Need Help

Girls enroll in school at equal or higher numbers than boys through grade 5, and perform better. But female dropout rates skyrocket at the secondary level with attendance decreasing by roughly 18 percent for girls ages 13-17. The barriers to education increase dramatically for girls during this period, and include risks associated with leaving the home unaccompanied, expectations to contribute to the household, and pressures to marry. Between 2005 and 2013, 29 percent of girls in Bangladesh were married before the age of 15, and 65 percent of girls were married before the age of 18.

Schools provide little opportunity for girls to develop relevant life skills, limiting their potential for success and their participation in society. Of the 1.5 million girls out of school in Bangladesh, most have dropped out. For girls in Bangladesh, the barriers to education are even greater than those of their male peers, with cultural norms and early marriage often preventing young women from fulfilling their academic potential.

 

Urban Realities

Meet Shahin, a child from the urban slums who hopes to go to school.

Urban Realities
Urban Realities

>600

More than 600 schools across Bangladesh have partnered with Room to Read through our Literacy Program.

<1%

Less than 1% of girls supported by our Girls’ Education Program in Bangladesh dropped out of school in 2015

The Children of Cox's Bazar: Education Inside and Out of the Rohingya Refugee Camp

In 2017, 400,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar to escape genocide. Since then, one million Rohingya refugees have settled into Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Nearly 500,000 of them are children and they – like all children – deserve access to quality education.

Watch our video to see how Room to Read is partnering with other organizations to bring education to the children of Cox's Bazar.

By the Numbers: Room to Read's Cox's Bazar Project with Rohingya Refugees

2,500 - learning centers visited in the refugee camp

4,000 - local teachers to be assessed

180,000 - Rohingya refugee children surveyed to understand their needs

Learn about our work with children outside the refugee camps
“We just want all children to have access to quality education. That's what drives us all the time.” Rakhi Sakar Bangladesh Country Director

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