The dropout rate of boys at the secondary level increased to 36 percent last year, the highest since 2011, according to a draft report prepared by the government.
In 2011, around 47 percent boys dropped out before completing the secondary level but the rate fell to 34.9 in 2012.
It hovered between 33 to 34 percent till 2017, before rising to 36.01 percent last year, showed the draft report styled "Bangladesh Education Statistics-2018", which was prepared by the Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (Banbeis).
It later organised a dissemination workshop to share its findings with different stakeholders at its office yesterday.
The report also showed that girl's dropout rate was higher than that of boys. 40.19 percent of girls discontinued school last year.
Speaking at the programme, Director of Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) Professor Mohammad Shamsul Huda said that the rise in dropout rate was indeed alarming and could prove to a problem for society.
He also blamed the disparity in stipends as a reason for the rise. “Girls getting more stipends than boys could be a reason.”
DSHE officials said that 30 percent female students in high schools got stipends while it was given to only 10 percent male students at the same level.
Banbeis statistics specialist Sheikh Mohammed Alamgir, while presenting the study, said the dropout rate among boys was 36.01 percent in 2018 in the secondary level.
The dropout rate was 33.43 percent in 2017, 33.88 percent in 2016, 33.72 percent in 2015, 34.52 percent in 2014, 34.18 percent in 2013, 34.90 percent in 2012 and 46.73 percent in 2011, said Banbies officials.
Alamgir told The Daily Star that boys from hard to reach and disadvantaged areas would drop out the most as they needed to work in tea gardens, in crop fields and stone quarries to augment their family income.
However, the overall dropout rate at secondary level has gradually been declining since 2008, when the rate was a staggering 61.38 percent.
The rate came down to 37.62 percent last year from 37.81 percent the previous year.
The draft report also shows that net enrollment to the secondary level came down to 66.19 percent in 2018 from 68.78 percent of 2017.
Senior Secretary of Secondary and Higher Education Division Sohorab Hossain, at the programme, said that they got the data from the study and would try to know the reason for the increase in dropouts.
“We need information to chalk out necessary measures.”
Speaking at the programme, Education Minister Dipu Moni emphasised on the necessity of improving quality of education.
“We need skilled and qualified teachers to improve the quality of education.”
The Banbeis collected data online from all 41,905 post-primary education institutions across the country from October 1 to October 10 last year to prepare the report.
The total number of students at these institutions is around 1.94 crore, says the report.
It also said the number of institutions from primary to university was 1.76 lakh and total number of students at these educational institutions was about 3.68 crore.
Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury, Technical and Madrasa Education Division Secretary Md Alamgir, and Banbeis Director Md Fashiullah, also spoke at the programme.