The World Bank yesterday approved an additional $100 million fund to scale up its support to strengthen technical and vocational education in Bangladesh.
The financing will enable two lakh poor students to complete vocational training and diploma courses, the WB said in a statement.
With this additional financing to the ongoing Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP), the WB's total support to the programme stands at $179 million, with co-financing of $16.7 million in grants from Canada.
The project offers vocational training opportunities that respond to market demand to the poor.
To date, more than 1.1 lakh diploma students from low-income households have received stipends in 93 polytechnic institutions.
In addition, nearly 70,000 short-course trainees received free six-month vocational training in 38 trades.
Within six months of completing the courses, 42 percent of the trainees were employed.
Bangladesh needs to create more and better jobs for the 13 lakh youths entering the labour force every year to accelerate economic growth, WB Country Director Johannes Zutt said in the statement.
The additional financing will continue to improve the quality of skills training and employability of youth in local and overseas job markets, he added. It will also expand the coverage of institutional development grants to public and private polytechnic institutions.
With the financing, an increased number of private and public polytechnics will be able to improve classrooms and laboratories, and establish industrial partnerships for internships, job placement and job counselling services.
The additional financing will also scale up the coverage of short-course trainings.
Strong polytechnic institutions can make a meaningful dent in the job market, when their offered courses match with the market needs, said Md Mokhelsur Rahman, WB team leader of STEP.
For the first time in Bangladesh, the project launched the Recognition of Prior learning to assess and certify informal workforce, with no prior formal skills training or certification.
Now, the project will also start an apprenticeship programme in the secondary level vocational training curriculum, he added.