7% of Bangladeshi families have to borrow to send their children to school: UNESCO

About 7 percent of families in Bangladesh have to borrow to send their children to school, according to a new report from UNESCO.

The UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report 2021/22 was presented at the RewirEd Forum in Dubai on December 14.

In Bangladesh, the share of urban households paying private tuition increased from 48 percent in 2000 to 67 percent in 2010, while the corresponding share of rural households doubled from 27 percent to 54 percent; for the poorest quartile, it quadrupled from 10 percent to 40 percent.

Overall, average spending rose 80 percent in real terms, according to the report.

It shows that around the world, one in six families save to pay for school fees, while 8 percent of families (or one in 12) in low- and middle-income countries need to borrow money to pay for schooling. of their children.

In other countries, such as Uganda, Haiti, Kenya and the Philippines, 30 percent of families have to borrow to pay for their children’s education.

The report calls on governments to keep their pledge to provide 1 year of preschool education and 12 years of primary and secondary education free for all.

New data shows that the costs of education bear disproportionately on households in the poorest countries.

In low- and lower-middle-income countries, households cover 39% of education costs, with the government covering the rest, compared to only 16% in high-income countries.

Almost two-thirds of the total cost of education is borne by households in Bangladesh, while only a third is covered by governments – this is the fourth highest percentage covered by households in the world (after Haiti, Nigeria and Liberia).

Public education still has many hidden costs. About a third of household education expenditure in low- and middle-income countries comes from households with children attending public schools.

An analysis of around 100 low- and middle-income countries between 2009 and 2020 found that, on average, 3.2% of household financial expenditure was spent on education.

In Ghana, the share of education spending is not only the largest in the world, but also increased from 8.9% in 2005/06 to 13.1% in 2016/17.

Much of the cost comes from school uniforms and other school supplies; these accounted for almost two-fifths of the amount households spent on education in 15 low- and middle-income countries.

“We have underestimated how much families still pay for education when governments say it should be free,” said Manos Antoninis, director of the Global Education Monitoring Report.

On top of that, the impact of Covid-19 has further squeezed family budgets. As a result, many simply cannot afford to pay school fees. Governments need to take a closer look at how much is paid families. They need to focus on ensuring that education is free at the point of access – and that the poorest are not charged for a good quality education. “

The GEM report warns that, without better regulations, private education choices, such as private schools or additional private tuition fees, increase these costs for households.


Redouble efforts to ensure free and publicly funded access to one year of pre-school education and 12 years of primary and secondary education.

Governments should monitor direct education spending through household income and expenditure surveys. Formal payments are often the only ones that governments pay attention to. They often overlook other less well-documented costs that increase inequalities, such as additional private tuition fees. The effectiveness of policies aimed at targeting resources at disadvantaged learners should be assessed, not inferred.

Strengthen the government’s capacity to monitor and enforce regulations. Governments need to build trust with non-state providers, encourage them to enroll, eliminate arbitrariness in the rules, and communicate the right incentives for them to effectively run their schools for the benefit of learners.

Comments are closed.