Social sector performance surveys in Bangladesh

We designed and implemented quantitative and qualitative surveys on the use of public resources for education and healthcare and family planning.


  • Georgina Rawle

Education and primary healthcare and family planning are funded through public resources in Bangladesh, but it is important to understand how efficient and effective use of this funding is. We designed and implemented surveys to establish findings in this area - using a mixed-methods approach.

Our approach

The surveys tracked the flow of public resources to a national sample of schools and clinics, both in cash and in kind. They assessed the presence of essential inputs, including staff and equipment, and other complementary inputs such as text-books, medicines, and maintenance. They examined the operation of management and control systems, including accounts and service-delivery statistics.

The study measured the overall volume of services provided by schools and clinics, as well as resources received. It assessed the quality of services provided through tests of student attainment in education, and through a range of measures of clinical quality, including staff knowledge, in health. It also identified the characteristics of better-performing schools and clinics and assessed the extent to which the poor benefit from these services.

Initial stakeholder consultation with the Ministry of Finance and the respective line ministries established the priorities for the work. An active dissemination process used newsletters and briefings, in addition to the reports themselves, in order to encourage key stakeholders to internalise the findings in decision making, management, and policy.

The work was undertaken as part of a consortium supporting the comprehensive reform of public finances in Bangladesh under the Financial Management Reform Programme.


A major objective of the programme was to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending in the provision of basic services, particularly to the poor.

Areas of expertise