International migrant families lead all education indicators in longitudinal study
A few of those who go overseas to work can change their fate. Md Motaleeb Hossain is one of them.
Motaleeb, from Munshiganj district, has recently returned to Bangladesh. He has been working in Singapore for 10 years. His daughter Mina is now an MBBS student at a medical college in Dhaka.
“I am happy to see that my daughter is studying to become a doctor. When she started her schooling, my family had to struggle hard to make ends meet. In such a situation, I took a loan and went to Singapore to fulfil the needs of my family and to give a better education to my children,” said Motaleeb.
Like Motaleeb, many other men and women go abroad, especially to Middle Eastern countries, to earn money to provide a better education for their children.
A recent survey, conducted by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) of Dhaka University, mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and titled “Impact of Migration on Poverty and Growth in Bangladesh,” shows that members of international migrant families are getting further ahead in education compared to internal migrants and non-migrant families.
The survey was carried out with households in 20 districts covering all divisions except Mymensingh. One upazila from each district was brought under the study and data was collected from 120 villages.
A total of 6,143 households were surveyed, of which 2,976 were households of international migrants, 1,431 were of internal migrants, and 1,736 households were of non-migrants. Each district contained approximately 300 sample households.
RMMRU conducted the same study within the same households in 2014 and found very similar results in the education sector.
According to the study report released October 30, the literacy rate of international migrant family members is 78.6%, whereas it is 74.7% for internal migrants, and 71.6% for non-migrant families.
Female members of international migrant families are significantly ahead with a 74.8% literacy rate, compared to 71.3% among internal migrants, and 68.7% among non-migrant families.
Members of migrant families are doing better in secondary, higher secondary, and even tertiary-level education, compared to those who have no migrant members in their families.
In some cases it was found that the drop-out rate at the primary level is higher among internal and non-migrant families than international migrant families. As a result, children of these families cannot avail secondary or higher education. They drop out at the primary school level.
Among international migrant family members, 27% have primary (Class 1-5) education, while 27.4% of internal migrant family members and 30% of non-migrant family members
have the same level of education.
RMMRU chair, Dr Tasneem Siddiki, also a political science professor at Dhaka University, told the Dhaka Tribune: “At present, the education system is mostly dependent on private tuition. Family earning is a factor. Families of international migrants have a flow of remittances, so they can afford tuition fees, and they are doing well.
“In some cases, in the absence of a family head, children become reckless. Meanwhile, other children have to take responsibility for maintaining the family by dropping out of school,” she said.
“The study was conducted on the same households three years ago by selecting respondents ranging between five years old and up to the acquired level of education. It was found that some went to the secondary level during the last three years. So primary education shows low rates within members of international migrant families, but as a whole, the literacy rate is higher among the families of international migrants,” she added.