The performance of rural children at schools is significantly lower than that of their urban counterparts, revealed the Education Watch 2015 report unveiled in the capital on Saturday.
The difference is driven by disparity in infrastructure facilities and qualification of teachers between rural and urban areas, found the study.
Urban schools have more qualified teachers than rural schools. They also have more female teachers. The student-teacher ratio and seating capacity in classrooms were better in urban schools.
Urban schools have more classrooms, on-premise drinking water source, sanitary and clean latrines and separate toilets for the girls.
Urban schools also have better and more libraries and blackboards. Furthermore, urban schools have better facilities for physical exercise, annual sports events and cultural programmes, says the report prepared by Campaign for Popular Education.
The report, as well as speakers at the launching, observed primary education had made significant progress though attaining a high quality of education was still a challenge.
It is really sad that there are still disparities between urban and rural and the poor and well-off, said former education advisor to the caretaker government, and economist, Hossain Zillur Rahman.
Professor Wahiduddin Mahmud, former advisor to the caretaker government and member of UN Committee for Development Policy said Bangladesh had made progress in school attainment, infrastructure and competency test, but there are still some challenges, including ensuring quality of education.
CAMPE executive director Rasheda K Choudhury demanded more allocation for the education sector for improvement of the sector.
Primary and mass education minister Mostafizur Rahman said the government was working on ensuring quality education for all. He added teachers can play a vital role in improving quality of education. The government would take the report seriously to improve the overall state of education, he said.
The Education Watch Report 2015 said that on an average a primary school had 3.7 class rooms in 2014 – 3.4 in rural areas and 5.6 in urban areas. With a classroom for pre-primary education, each school should have six or more classrooms, the study said.
On an average there are 5.5 teachers in rural schools, which is much lower than 9.6 teachers in urban schools.
About 12 per cent rural schools have a library while 16 per cent in urban areas have libraries.
In the rural schools, 56 per cent school provide physical exercise facilities, 58 per cent host annual sports events and 54 per cent have cultural competitions while 70 per cent urban schools provide physical exercise, 63 per cent annual sports and 61 per cent cultural competitions.
In the rural school, 12.5 per cent teachers were secondary school graduates while in urban schools, only 5.6 per cent of the teachers passed the secondary level. Meanwhile, 18 per cent rural teachers were Masters degree holders while 24 per cent urban teachers were Masters degree holders.
About 85 per cent of the urban classrooms had electric light and 85.2 have electric fan, while these figures for rural classrooms were 36 per cent and 37 percent respectively.
About 23 per cent rural schools have separate toilet for boys and girls while the figure is 33 per cent in urban areas. Again, 11.5 per cent rural schools do not have toilet facilities while 4.1 per cent urban area schools do not have such facilities.
About 58 per cent toilets were clean in rural areas while 87 per cent toilets in urban schools are clean.
All these disparities had affect on competency as the report measured the school students on 27 competencies and found rural students achieved 73.3 per cent and the urban students achieved 80 per cent.
The report however said that primary education had made significant strides in terms of net enrollment, competence of students; the numbers of teachers, schools, students and teacher absenteeism, while the dropout rate had fallen between1998 to 2014.
Principal researcher Samir Ranjan Nath said if the current rate of progress continues cent per cent enrollment rate would be achieved in 2019, 90 per cent attendance rate of students in 2027, all adult (15y+) literacy by 2041 and no non-literate household by 2021.