The good news is, Bangladesh has managed to climb four rungs on a ranking of the quality of life for children.
According to a Save the Children report, Bangladesh scored 701 out of a possible 1,000 points – representing a 21-point improvement, the biggest increase for any country in South Asia – primarily due to one factor: more Bangladeshi children now remain in school.
The bad news is that it still ranked a disappointing 130th out of 175 countries, falling behind even deeply beleaguered places like Palestine and North Korea.
In the region, Bangladesh displayed a middling performance, ahead of Pakistan (149), and Afghanistan (160), but well behind Sri Lanka (60), Myanmar (107), and India (113).
The report included a ranking of 175 countries where childhood is most and least threatened. Singapore and Slovenia both rank first, with Norway, Sweden, and Finland rounding out the top five, whereas Niger is at the bottom.
According to the report, more than a third of children under 5 still suffer from stunting, 44% of teenagers are married before they turn 20, and nearly 3.5% of children do not survive their fifth birthday, all challenges currently facing Bangladesh’s children.
According to Unesco data, Bangladesh’s drop out rate for school children has gone down by 36% over the past five years.
“Bangladesh has made impressive progress in recent years, particularly when it comes to access to schooling. However, education is not being enjoyed by all children; those living in extreme poverty, or who live in isolated parts of the country, face social exclusion,” said Reefat Bin Sattar, director of Programme Development and Quality at Save the Children Bangladesh.
Despite the progress in primary education, many children are still outside the formal school system.