Education Planning and Policy
Public expenditures for education were very low in Bangladesh. As a percentage of the gross domestic product, the level of expenditure for education in 1983 was approximately 1.3 percent, a figure that did not rise substantially through 1988. On the average, the sectoral share of education in the total development expenditure of the government between 1973 and 1983 was only 4.1 percent; in 1985 it was only 3.1 percent.
The Third Five-Year Plan included efforts to improve quality by restructuring higher secondary and college education, making it more cost effective, and introducing management controls and performance evaluations. Community-based nonformal education approaches seemed to hold promise as an alternative means of providing basic arithmetic and reading skills. For instance, the Bangladesh Rural Development Board has been able to achieve low dropout rates, especially for females, in nonformal primary schooling, keeping operating costs fairly low and capital expenditures at a minimum.
The Ministry of Education and Culture was responsible for planning, financing, and managing education at all levels. The ad hoc Bangladesh Education Commission was appointed in 1972 to investigate and report on all major aspects of education. In 1987 another high-level body--the National Education Commission--was instituted. Its August 1988 recommendations were for compulsory free education; reforms in madrasa, medical, and law education; and removal of student politics from the campus. It was expected that the commission's recommendations would be addressed in the fourth and fifth five-year plans covering the period up to the year 2000.
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