Study into the role of the private sector in primary education for the urban poor in Bangladesh


DFID has been funding both the public and non government 'no fee' sectors in Bangladesh in order to improve education outcomes for many years. These efforts have resulted in substantial improvements in enrolment and gender parity. However, there continues to be a pressing need in Bangladesh to improve the quality of education and focus on education completion and attainment. This study was commissioned to:

  • Make an assessment of what role the private sector plays in providing education for poor children.
  • Use this assessment to determine if and how a new market orientated programme might be designed to assist Low Fee Private (LCP) schools.
  • Review possible ways and means by which this LCP sector can be catalysed to strengthen the quality of education provision and improve education completion and attainment by poor girls and boys.

The Report is presented in two distinct parts:

Part 1 commences by assessing the primary education market share of schools and enrollment by type and category of provider in 2011 using the government's macro data. It then makes similar assessments but this time in more depth through a study of data collected from 19 upazilas/thanas. It looks at the main features of this provision from the perspective of access, quality and choice, governance and regulation and a consideration of the main drivers and barriers before concluding by extrapolating some significant preliminary findings.

Part 2 provides details on two independent but complementary primary data collection efforts that were undertaken during September to November 2012 in the same location. Using Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) 19 slums from Dhaka and 11 slums from Chittagong were selected from a slum database that identifies 4,342 slums in Dhaka city and 1,814 slums in Chittagong; in addition, a sample of peri-urban locations – Savar and Keraniganj in Dhaka and Pativa in Chittagong – were included.

The Household Survey comprises information collected from poor households regarding the parents’ knowledge, views and perceptions on their children’s schooling experience. The data includes an assessment of the determinants for selecting a LCP or a non-LCP primary school, perceptions on the quality of schooling, and the level of expenditure borne by the parents. A total of 1,128 household interviews were conducted.

The School Survey documents the level of enrollment, qualifications of staff, and levels of revenue and expenditure across the different types of schools and a comparison of their administrative and governing structures and their learning environments. The school selection was limited to areas sampled households resided or their adjacent areas.

A concluding Chapter summarises the main findings and extrapolates significant features from the perspectives of access, quality, equity and costing.


CfBT Education Trust. Study into the role of the private sector in primary education for the urban poor in Bangladesh. CfBT Education Trust, Reading, UK (2013) 63 pp.

Study into the role of the private sector in primary education for the urban poor in Bangladesh

Published 1 January 2013