The motivation for the School Choice in Bangladesh study was to inform education policy in a context in which the demand for schooling has been changing: enrolment in recognized and official schools at primary declined in the first half of the 2000s, while at secondary level, expansion stagnated. Boys’ enrolments in the official system declined most dramatically, and they appear to have been moving to different – and new – types of institution. Declining quality in the official system at primary is likely to squeeze out two groups: the poorest, for which the low returns from poor quality education mean investment in school may not be worthwhile, and the rich, who can afford better education, should it be available. Fewer poor boys move to NGO schools than girls, and it has been suggested that madrasas of a range of types are likely to have been absorbing these groups in this changing context. The potential political implications, such as the possibility of rising Islamic militancy among a cohort of young men from poor backgrounds, have directed attention to the question of how school choice is changing.
The objective of the study was:
The research was designed to take into account the impacts of gender, poverty, economic opportunity, religiosity, and human security as factors likely to affect decisions around educational investment.
Sampling: The study adopted a comparative case study methodology, involving four contrasting communities. Large-scale nationally representative survey data was not used, and the approach focused on enabling an in-depth understanding of household decision-making processes around education. The strategy adopted was multi-disciplinary, multi-method and multi-level, approaching the issues at individual, household, community, school and regional levels. Four villages in four distinctly different districts were selected to represent characteristics of a) extreme poverty; b) high insecurity, including environmental insecurity; c); economic opportunity and high growth; and d) above average religiosity.
The actual services provided include:
The study was sponsored and financed by Oxford Policy Management (OPM)/UK