The State of Learning in Bangladesh

The 18-month closure of schools due to COVID-19 has likely caused profound learning loss in Bangladesh, which may worsen if there is a systematic reduction in school re-enrollment after reopening. The study aims to capture the school enrollment/re-enrollment rates, attendance, and access to technology alongside collecting data to assess the students’ current state of learning using the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) test.

Researchers: Hossain Zillur Rahman; Dr Imran Matin; Khandker Wahedur Rahman; Marjan Hossain

Partners: Power and Participation Centre (PPRC)

Timeline: 31 January 2022–31 March 2023

Status: Ongoing

Method: Quantitative

Contact: Marjan Hossain;


Bangladesh has seen one of the most prolonged school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing massive learning disruptions for nearly 38 million students. It is speculated that students likely suffered severe learning loss during the 18-month school closure. Studies indicate both primary and secondary students facing learning loss, with secondary students experiencing a greater risk. A report by The World Bank suggests that even under the best-case scenario of schools remaining closed for a shorter period and the adoption of measures such as remote learning, every child’s learning loss is significant. Schools reopening in September 2021 is an opportune moment to identify the changes in student demographics due to COVID-19.


The survey aims to assess the state of learning among school-going children of ages 5–16 years by identifying the current level of literacy and numeracy skills of the children of Bangladesh. It intends to obtain reliable indicators of children’s schooling and basic learning status (reading and arithmetic level) at the district level. It will regularly monitor the learning and attendance behavior to explore the school re-enrollment rate and the socio-economic background correlation. The study results and their interpretation will contribute to effective policy design.

This study is relevant to SDG 4 (Quality Education), particularly to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.


This exploratory research will conduct surveys of households with children of ages 5–18 years, from eight administrative divisions of Bangladesh. Using the Integrated Multi-Purpose Sample (IMPS), 20 households from each of the 330 Primary Sampling Units (PSUs)—177 rural and 153 urban—are assigned across eight divisions. In-person surveys will be conducted of 6,600 eligible households. 

Findings and Recommendations

Study ongoing.