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Gender Perspective in Bangladesh

Updated on March 25, 2010

Table of internal efficiency rates

Table 1
Table 1


Enrolment and success rates are very crucial for any educational system in the world but they are more important for the developing countries like Bangladesh. Gender differences in enrolment and success rates are also emerging issues. This study investigated the enrolment and success rate’s status in secondary educational system of Bangladesh along with internal efficiency rates involving completion rate, retention or survival rate, dropout rate and gender parity index. Some policy implications were suggested with acknowledgement of some flaws in the female stipend Program in Bangladesh.

· Completion Rate: The completion rate is defined as the percentage of a cohort of pupil who enrolled in class 6 of secondary education in a specific class who could not reach the next class in the next academic year and left school before holding annual examination.

· Survival Rate: The survival rate is defined as the percentage of a cohort of pupils who enrolled in the class 6 of Secondary education in a given-year and who eventually reach class 10. Its purpose is to measure the “holding power” and internal efficiency of an education system at secondary level. In other wards, it implies that the proportion of a pupil cohort that Completes class 9 and reaches class 10. It also indicates the magnitude of dropout before class 10. The survival rate approaching 100 percent signifies a high overall level of efficiency, while less than 100 percent indicates inefficiency due to class repetition and drop-out. The survival rate may be also defined as the share of class 10 enrolments in the total enrolment in each area or school. But it does not reflect the pattern of flow of students over a period; it serves only as an index of rates of survival in the school system over the period.

· Dropout Rate: The dropout rate is defined as the percentage of a cohort of pupils who enrolled in a specific class but couldn’t reach the next class in next academic year. In the present context the difference in enrolment at the time of admission in February and at the time of annual examination in December was collected to estimate the dropout rates during one academic year.

· Gender Parity Index (GPI): GPI is the ratio of female to male enrolment rates. When the enrolment gender parity index (GPI) for enrolment shows a value equal to 1, female enrolment and male enrolment rates are equal. A value less than 1 indicates that proportionately less female than male have enrolled.

Situation of Secondary Education from Gender Perspective in Bangladesh

Enrolment Rate:

Enrolment rate is very important determinant of educational achievement of a country. According the Nath et al. (1999) the current school enrolment appeared to be the main predictor of basic education in Bangladesh while Raynor (2005) finds girls in Bangladesh are enrolling in a higher rate than the boys. So, a good discussion on enrolment status of Bangladesh should be addressed.

Gross enrolment rate at the secondary level of education is showing an increasing trend and the growth for female enrolment rate is higher than the male children. It was 57.46 percent for male and 42.54 percent for female in 1999. But the enrolment rate for male decreased to 51.52 percent, which for female it increased to 48.48 percent in 2003 . The gender gap in enrolment rate has been gradually reducing. This is because each female student from Classs 6 to 10 gets stipend from the government and other donor agencies. Government also provides tuition fees to the school for each female student. As a result of female stipend Program at the secondary school in rural areas, enrolment has steadily gained ground and enrolment rate for female is increasing gradually. But it has been found that many parents give priority to arrange marriage for their daughters instead of completing of secondary level education and this is reckoned as one of the main causes of dropout of female students.

The estimated value of gender parity index (GPI) is less than 1 but it increases from 0.7403 in 1999 to 0.9410 in 2003. When the gender parity index (GPI) for enrolment shows a value equal to 1, female and male enrolment rates are equal. A value less than 1 indicates that proportionately less female than male have enrolled. However, GPI gradually approaching towards 1 indicating that gender disparity in enrolment is gradually reducing.

In a broad view, there has been a sharp increase in female enrollment in all phases of education in Bangladesh. Since independence Bangladesh has been achieving tremendous progress in female education though female education has not yet reached its goal of educating every single female in this country under the slogan “Education for all”. From primary level to tertiary or above level female education has received greater public concern and became one of the burning ssues accomplishing the task of educational progress among women in Bangladesh reducing the ender disparities. Not only in enrollment of female students but also the dramatic increase in the number of female educational institution and female teachers show us the evidence that government olicy regarding the progress in female education is approaching its goal very slowly. Table 2 below shows us the enrollment of students in secondary schools from 2001-2007.

The values of Gender Parity Index (GPI) indicate the increasing trend of female enrolment also. The values of GPI show increasing female enrolment over the years yet with male dominance. In the years female enrolment was much less than male enrolment.

Success Rate:

the highest number of students who secured “A+” belongs to municipality area though the respective number of metropolitan area is almost near and rural are places to third in that rank. Yet we feel despaired by having a look at the semi-urban area where no one got the highest Class. Among the other Classs it has been observed that result of the students of municipality area dominates over the rest of the areas except for the Class “A” and “C” where metropolitan and rural areas owns the highest number respectively. That means students of metropolitan and municipality areas do well in SSC exam usually.

Gender Disparity:

Asadullah, M, N. and Chaudhury, N (2006) mentioned that the gender disparity in education in Bangladesh has different dimension along with career path for females which, to a certain extent, linked with social, religious and economic values of Bangladesh while Raynor (2005) focuses on the attitudes of people of Bangladesh about the female education which is to blame for the ender disparity in education in Bangladesh. Whereas Chowdhury et al. (2002) finds that gender ifferences disappeared from enrolment at primary level. Maitra(2003) also asserts “…there is no gender differential in the probability of current school enrolment of children aged 6-12, girls have a significantly higher probability of continuing in school relative to boys”. Even though our study investigated secondary education but we are going to express different opinion about the gender disparity in educational system of Bangladesh.

Internal Efficiency Rates:

Khandker(1996) examined school efficiency and perceived different attainment, failure and dropout rates for males and females but with low disparity. He also found that lower dropout rate for girls contrasts sharply with the household-level analysis. In our case, the internal efficiency rate at the secondary level of education have been examined by estimating three important components of efficiency such as completion rate, dropout rate and survival rate of students by sex. The higher value of completion rate and survival rate signifies a higher level of efficiency, while higher value of dropout rate implies lower level of efficiency and higher social cost of education. Table 5 shows the internal efficiency by sex. It reveals from the Table 5 that completion rate for female students is significantly lower than the male students and showing a decreasing trend between 1999 and 2003, while the dropout rate for females is much more higher than males. A decreasing trend is also noticed in respect of survival rate and coefficient of efficiency. It is worth mentioning that in spite of implementing female stipend Program in secondary education, the completion and survival rates for female are not encouraging. Only 14 % female of a cohort of pupil who enrolled in Class 6 and who actually completed secondary education and reached Class 10 in 2003 which is low compared to the 20% male students. However, opposite scenario is observed in case of dropout rate where dropout rate is higher for female than the male students. There is a wide disparity between male and female in respect of completion rate, drop out rate and survival rate. One of the prime concerns of the policy makers is the high dropout rate in secondary schools. The dropouts who leave school within one-year were the highest (26%) for female students in rural area. This figure was 17 percent in semi-urban, 4.6 percent in municipality and less than one percent in metropolitan area. More than one-fourth of the total female students dropped out within one-year from rural schools. The same trend has been perceived from their male counterparts with different percentage points. On the other hand, highest proportion of students (11% for male and 18% for female) dropped out from private but govt. aided schools. The dropout rate for female students was higher than that of male students except metropolitan area and specially endowed schools. From socio-economic view point, the students who leave school at the earlier stages receive only partial education and the majority of them are obviously ill-adapted to its social and economic environment.

Ethnic Minority

In ethnic minority secondary enrollment is not so powerful than primary enrollment because of

· Geographical Position

· Cultural differences

· Lower life standard

· Economical Backwardness

· Unawareness

· Lack of co-operation


The Secondary School Stipend Program

The current secondary school stipend program provides small cash amounts to girls in the poorer rural areas and, to further encourage schools to enroll girls, a tuition assistance payment is also provided to the participating schools. To qualify for the stipend, girls must be unmarried up to SSC, maintain 75 percent attendance rate and obtain 45 percent score on the final exam.

Security and Sanitation– Girls’ vulnerability to physical and cultural dangers and parents’ concern about pregnancy outside marriage, eve teasing, etc.

The issues of school safety and sanitation have been addressed in several ways, including a quota initiated for 50 percent female teachers (new recruitment at 60 percent); improved school facilities, including separate toilets for girls and boys, and potable water; and community schools to bring schools closer to girls homes.

Fifty Percent Quota For Female Teachers

The number of female primary school teachers has more than doubled since 1990 -- from 16 percent to 40 percent. However, there are nearly twice as many female teachers (58 percent) in the urban schools as in rural schools (29 percent). Nearly 93 percent of the NGO school teachers are female, compared to 48 percent in government, 39 percent in private and 7.6 percent in madrassahs.

Improved Facilities

Facilities, though improved with separate toilets and potable water in some schools, remain an issue in many schools. Some schools still lack these facililties altogether. Others are unusable due to unsanitary conditions and each of these cases provide clear evidence that a School Management Committee (SMC), whose job it is to maintain facilities and create a healthy and pleasant school environment, is ineffective. Findings of PSPMP 2000 study showed inadequate toilets in as many as 38 percent of rural schools, and 57 percent of schools could not provide drinking water to their students. It has also been reported that teachers appropriate the use of the second (girls’) toilet for their own use, which prevents girls’ access and brings the true effect of better school facilities under question.


· Govt. should stop corruption of administrative people who are related to stipend Program in rural schools to increase female success rate in SSC exam.

· Female students are enrolling at a higher rate than male students at this point of time, so govt. should now promote male students in rural areas as well by keeping the female enrolment steady.

· Schools in rural areas have lower survival rate and higher drop out rate. Govt. should take initiatives to increase survival rate in those areas.

· If possible govt. should establish more Cadet Colleges and Govt.High Schools or at least increase the seats in those institutes without compromising the quality of educational environment.


Affirmative action is a first step, but does not necessarily lead to gender equity. The term “gender equity” is often misunderstood as a simple exercise in counting numbers of girls and boys until they reach parity. “The education system is obsessed with numbers,” said one person, “but there is a great need for attention to the kinds of skills and competencies that are needed in order to achieve gender equity.” Girls risk teasing and attacks on the way to and from school and, once in school, girls and boys witness and are subject to physical and verbal abuse, one of the major issues identified by children as discouraging learning and school participation. Community participation can be effective in achieving safe walks to and from school in the rural areas, but the same is not true for the fractured communities in urban areas, where there is little cohesion. Communities can also be mobilized to stop the use of corporal punishment in schools and teachers need to be trained in interactive methods with respect for the rights of the child to a learner friendly classroom environment.

· Affirmative action initiatives such as the girls’ secondary school stipend project and food for education are costly, subject to misallocation, and are not sustainable. One of the reasons given for the stipends was to motivate primary school girls to continue on to secondary school. But we do not have evidence that enrollment numbers increased beyond the rises in other areas without the stipend. While these initiatives address the symptoms of poverty, the system is not addressing the need to educate in ways that will help girls and their families out of poverty.

· Changing stereotypical beliefs about the value of girls’ education through integrated approaches of community mobilization, mass communication initiatives at national and school level and teacher training require gender integrated methodologies in design and implementation.

Having reviewed these three areas, we turn now to a brief comparative review of the formal government model and non formal schools run by NGOs


BANBEIS (2008). Statistical Profile on Education in Bangladesh 2008

BANBEIS (2007). Pocket Book on Educational Statistics 2007


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    • humayuniftikhar profile image


      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      I took a Gender Studies course last semester. Seriously, I can relate this situation to Pakistan. The non-availability of sex segregated data hinders the process of gender equity at the policy and strategic level in developing countries like Pakistan.

    • profile image

      Sarah Hossain 

      8 years ago

      It is a symbol of modern digital Bangladesh Result 2010 for Bangladesh-Register Online for Secondary School Certificate Result Online visit:


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