SAMIR RANJAN NATH
Using Education Watch household survey database this paper explores children’s access to preschool education in Bangladesh. Participation in pre-school education has increased in Bangladesh at the rate of 0.6% per year and the net enrolment rate was found to be 13.4% in 2005. Enrolment of over-aged children in pre-school education made the gross enrolment ratio as high as 30.5%. Over half of the currently enrolled children of pre-school age also enrolled in primary classes and over 70% of those in the same age group were out-of-school. Only a third of the pre-school pupils got the opportunity to enrol in the English medium kindergartens and NGO-run non-formal schools where a kind of better pre-schooling exists. Urban children, especially those had educated parents and better-off economic background were more likely to have access in pre-school education compared to the others. Lack of common curricula for preschool education creates inequity among children at their very early age. A pro-poor policy with enough responsibility of the state and scope for current providers to contribute is an urgent need.
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SAMIR RANJAN NATH: Program head, Research and evaluation division, Brac, Bangladesh.