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Achieving gender equality in learning outcomes: Evidence from a non-formal education program in Bangladesh

Abstract

Non-formal education (NFE) programs have been a long standing approach to educating marginalized children, especially girls, across the developing world. Though such programs provide girls expanded access to learning opportunities, the evidence of whether enhanced access actually leads girls to achieve on par with boys remains limited. I analyze the academic achievement of girls relative to boys in a sample of 1,203 children participating in a NFE program in rural Bangladesh, known as SHIKHON which means “learning” in Bengali. I find strong correlational evidence that gender is not significantly associated with achievement; on average, girls achieve on par with boys across four subject areas including literacy (English and Bangla), numeracy, science and social science.

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