Girls' Schooling in Rural Bangladesh

Simeen Mahmud, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS)

In Bangladesh girls' ability to complete schooling, especially beyond the primary level, is compromised not only by poverty, but also by the practice of early marriage. Since the mid 1990s the Bangladesh government has provided financial incentives to parents in rural areas to enroll and retain their daughters in secondary school. Although enrollment has increased tremendously some girls still never enroll and school dropout continues to be high. This paper uses a panel survey (2001 and 2003) of nearly 3000 adolescent girls in rural Bangladesh to predict schooling outcomes. The analysis finds that factors explaining school enrollment and school retention are not necessarily the same, and that the reasons why girls discontinue school can have profound immediate and long term consequences for their well being and varies according to household socio-economic status.

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Presented in Session 163: Girls' Education in Muslim Societies