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Is the Price Right? A Study of the Impact of School Fees in Rural Bangladesh

Author(s): Grenzke, Emily

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Abstract: The purpose of this article is to investigate the effect that user fees have on primary school enrollment and educational attainment in rural Bangladesh. There is growing international consensus that school user fees should be abolished in developing countries because they pose a barrier to universal enrollment. However, where school fees are the primary source of revenue for education, abolishing them significantly threatens the quality of education provided. Using data from three different regions in Bangladesh in 1996, this article employs a Heckman model to estimate the determinants of school enrollment. The results suggest that (i) fixed enrollment fees are a barrier to participation in the education market, (ii) but annual fees are not, and (iii) that the cost of secondary education has a significant impact on primary school enrollment. Based on these results, and considering the need for revenue, current policies aimed at abolishing all varieties of school fees are not justified. The article concludes by recommending advocacy for lower fixed enrollment fees and lower fees for secondary schools. 1
Publication Date: 2007
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Journal of Public and International Affairs
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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