BRAC operated a non-formal primary education (NFPE) programme for three decades on a philanthropic mode. It was possible due to financial support of the international development partners. Such support has started to shrink and might not be available in the near future as a result of the improved socioeconomic development of Bangladesh. In response, BRAC has made a strategic shift in its programmatic approach. The BRAC Education Programme (BEP) has been trying to be self-sustainable. Therefore, a financially sustainable approach to education service delivery has been adopted in early 2016. The centre of this approach is cost recovery; meaning that students are charged monthly tuition fees for education in BRAC schools. Studies show that, in a fee-free mode, priority was given to poor students (in terms of parental education and household economy) for admission in BRAC schools.
There is a feeling that the characteristics of the students of BRAC schools might have changed due to introduction of monthly tuition fees. This study, therefore, explored the socioeconomic characteristics predicting children’s enrolment in BRAC schools taking Shishu Niketan as a case and to what extent BRAC was serving the poor section. The other issues of exploration were reasons for admission in Shishu Niketan, private cost of education, and recovery of cost. The sample comprised of 1,082 first graders of 2017, residing around 17 Shishu Niketan schools. Fieldwork for this study was carried out during the first two weeks of June 2017.