Education Achievements and School Efficiency in Rural Bangladeshby Shahidur R. Khandker
Bangladesh spends only 2 percent of its GNP on education, compared to 3.2 percent in an average low-income country and 6 percent in an average high-income country. Low investment in education results in low literacy, which in turn results in low productivity, low incomes, poor health and, above all, high population growth. To counter these trends, Bangladesh has invested substantially in the education sector in recent years. The objective of this investment has been to improve both the quality and quantity of education, especially among the female population. This paper assesses whether these interventions can improve the literacy, school participation and school attainment rates. It first presents a descriptive analysis of schooling achievements at the household level in Bangladesh and then discusses educational outcomes at the school level. It presents a model framework for analyzing the effect relevant policy variables on both the household-level and the school-level education outcomes, and then gives the estimates of these outcomes. The estimates of school-level outcomes provide a measure of school efficiency in terms of the effectiveness of government inputs in determining these outcomes. The paper then gives the results of a simulation exercise, which suggests ways in which the government can improve schooling outcomes and school effectiveness in rural Bangladesh. It concludes by summarizing the findings and discussing policy options for increasing human capital in Bangladesh. The paper also concludes that school interventions, such as more and better schools, better trained and educated teachers, more female teachers, and better water and sanitation facilities in schools, allkey elements of the Bank-supported educational projects in Bangladesh, are able to promote literacy and improve school participation and school attainment rates.
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