Access to and Exclusion from Primary Education in Slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh


Bangladesh’s urban population is rising fast. In the capital, Dhaka, some four million people live in slums. They are lacking in wealth, power and social connections; probably undercounted in national surveys; and under-served by both government and non-government organisations, many of whom still see poverty as a rural issue or see the urban poor as less deserving of help. This paper draws on primary research conducted by a team at BRAC University Institute of Educational Development in 2008 as part of the CREATE programme. Focusing on four slums in Dhaka, it examines what school options were available and what the barriers are. Using the CREATE zones of exclusion framework and survey data from the four slums, it looks at how many children were never enrolled in school, how many dropped out from primary, how many were ‘virtually excluded’ (attending school but not learning), and how many finished primary but were not able to make the transition to secondary. Using statistical analysis and other information from interviews it also assesses what household and individual factors are associated with each type of exclusion. Finally, it emphasises the need for a greater focus on education for the urban poor and considers some policies that could improve the situation.


CREATE Pathways to Access Series, Research Monograph Number 45, ISBN: 0-901881-52-X. 42 pp.

Access to and Exclusion from Primary Education in Slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Published 1 January 2010