This policy brief focuses on the effect that neighbourhoods have on the educational opportunities of children living in rapidly growing cities in Bangladesh, India and Tanzania.

It analyses the following aspects of formal education: (a) availability of different types of schools (e.g., public and non-state) at different levels, (b) quality and availability of facilities and services, (c) physical accessibility of schools, and (d) financial support.

Key findings:
  • Children living in poor and low-income neighbourhoods are less likely to have good access to schools, especially beyond primary level.
  • Children living in poor and low-income neighbourhoods are less likely to attend well-resourced and well-equipped schools.
  • Neighbourhoods are not homogenous and are constantly changing, which affects access to and quality of schools.
  • Children and schools in poorer neighbourhoods receive little financial and other support.
  • Limited access to well-equipped, well-resourced and well-maintained schools drive student absenteeism and high drop-out rates.
  • There is a growing number of non-state schools within neighbourhoods, which raises issues of accessibility, sustainability and quality.
Key policy recommendations:

1. Adopt a neighbourhood lens to develop a more nuanced and targeted evidence base for policies and interventions.

2. Ensure the availability of well-resourced schools of all levels locally.

3. Ensure the availability of diverse learning opportunities in all neighbourhoods.

4. Engage with local actors in each neighbourhood to build on available resources and capacities to support children’s learning.

5. Support non-state education providers in less affluent neighbourhoods to sustain education and prevent disruption when funding ends.