School attendance is universal in the Bangladeshi Association for Life Skills, Income, and Knowledge for Adolescents (BALIKA) study area, but the persistence of early and child marriage leads to high dropout rates among girls. Compulsory primary education is free in Bangladesh, and policies to improve access to schooling are generally credited with universal schooling at young ages. Only 1 percent of 12–15-year-olds have never attended school compared to 9 percent among 15–18-year-olds in the study area. The recent expansion of educational opportunity presents new challenges. Bangladesh is unusual by global comparison in the high proportion of girls who are married in early adolescence, leading to school discontinuation and early childbearing. Fifty-two percent of adolescent girls in the study areas who were no longer in school left school to be married. The BALIKA “Highlight on Schooling” fact sheet concludes: The educational situation for adolescent girls is improving in rural Bangladesh. Incentives and financial support are creating opportunities for girls to attend school and to continue their schooling even though early marriage remains one of the main reasons for discontinuation.
"BALIKA fact sheet: Highlight on schooling." New York: Population Council, 2014.
BALIKA (Bangladeshi Association for Life Skills, Income, and Knowledge for Adolescents)