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Emily Richardson

Bangladesh has witnessed unprecedented growth in its low-fee private school (LFPS) sector in recent decades. The number of private schools has multiplied almost threefold in the last 15 years, and in certain districts, more than 60 percent of children are enrolled in LFPS. Individual ‘edupreneurs’, private school chains, and missionaries have emerged as important players in the sector. No actor’s entry into the market is more surprising than that of BRAC, the largest NGO in Bangladesh, and the world. In 2012, BRAC piloted a chain of LFPS, and today overseas a franchise of fee-charging primary schools. This chapter presents an excerpt from a larger study on the quality of LFPS in Bangladesh. Findings revealed that BRAC has recently shifted its low-cost approach to educational provision for disadvantaged children to a LFPS model that no longer reaches low-income families. This chapter also highlights BRAC’s plans for expansion, and policymakers’ perceptions of this phenomenon.