Growing evidence shows that preschool attendance increases young children’s readiness for school by improving cognitive and social-emotional development and this can have lasting benefits beyond primary, especially for socially and economically disadvantaged students. However, there is less evidence on how many years of preschool are needed for the most cost-effective impact. The study in Bangladesh will measure the impact of starting preschool a year earlier, at age four rather than age five, giving children two years of preschool instead of one. The Government of Bangladesh has emphasized preprimary education as part of the development of children and currently offers one-year preprimary education to five-year old children. The results will help Bangladesh decide whether to move forward with recommendations in the national education and early childhood policy programs to increase preschool to two years.
Research area: Education
Evaluation Sample: schools
Timeline: 2016 - 2019
Researchers: Johannes M. Bos, American Institutes for Research; Najmul Hossain, Data International; Marianne O’Grady, Save the Children; Josh Sennett; Kaitlin Carson; Shinsaku Nomura, World Bank Task Team Leader (TTL)
Save the Children has been running a one-year preschool program in 25 centers in Bangladesh’s Meherpur district since the end of 2014. With the expansion of the program in 2016 to an additional 50 new centers, an opportunity was created to include a randomized control trial to measure the benefits of a pilot program adding an extra year of preschool.