Female Secondary School Assistance in Bangladesh

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Photo Credit: Asian Development Bank (2015).

MOTIVATION

In 2004, IFPRI researchers assessed the impacts of the Female Secondary School Assistance Project (FSSAP)—a universal conditional cash transfer program supported primarily by the World Bank that was targeted to a wide group of girls living in poverty. It provided a monthly cash stipend and tuition waiver to any girl attending secondary school (grades 6–10) in rural Bangladesh, in an effort to raise extremely low female enrollment.

RESULTS AND OUTCOMES

  • The project was enormously successful. In fact, girls significantly overtook boys in secondary school enrollment—a rare phenomenon in a developing country. Not only was the program effective at giving many girls from poor families the financial support they needed, but it also enhanced awareness of the value of female education among girl students.
  • Based on the program’s evaluation, IFPRI recommended that FSSAP target the poor directly, using specific methods, and include boys from poor families as program beneficiaries in addition to girls. IFPRI also recommended that transfer amounts be increased to cover education expenses and opportunity costs of attending school. By 2010, the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank had redesigned the US$130 million program (renamed the Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project) to incorporate all of IFPRI’s recommendations.

For more information on IFPRI's research and partnerships in Bangladesh, please go to this brochure.