The World Bank said it will lend $213 million to Bangladesh for two projects that aim to improve weather and climate information services and strengthen college education provided through National University.
The weather and climate services regional project of $113 million will help Bangladesh provide reliable weather, water and climate forecasts and enable communities, especially farmers, to access those easily.
On the other hand, the college education development project, which will cost $100 million, will help improve the teaching and learning environment at government and non-government colleges affiliated with National University.
The Washington-based lender approved the projects on Friday.
“To reach a middle-income country status by 2021, Bangladesh needs to focus on priority areas, which include creating a skilled and competent workforce, and helping weather-dependent sectors cope better with climate uncertainties and natural disasters,” said Qimiao Fan, country director of the WB, in a statement.
Modern hydro-meteorological forecasting services would improve disaster preparedness, while a stronger college education system consisting of 1.6 million students would help university graduates become more employable, he added.
“These two projects will help raise income-levels and reduce poverty.”
The weather and climate services regional project will strengthen hydro-meteorological monitoring and forecasting, and improve early warning systems.
The project will help develop agro-meteorological services to farmers and provide tailored weather and climate data and services; it will also support community level early warning systems for extreme weather events in Netrakona, Sunamganj Rajshahi and Naogaon.
“By providing access to weather and climate related information, the project will help farmers cope with weather and climate extremes and increase agricultural productivity,” said Poonam Pillai, task team leader of the project.
She said agro-meteorological information kiosks will be set up in 487 upazilas and display boards at 4,051 union parishads, enabling at least 300,000 farmers adjust to weather variability at the farm level.
In Bangladesh, more than two-thirds of the students at tertiary level are enrolled at government and non-government colleges. The college education development project will support better education for graduate and master's students at the colleges under National University.
The project will help fill vacant teacher positions at government colleges and provide training to about 8,000 college teachers and managers.
“As the first donor-supported intervention in college education, the project will support an improved teaching and learning environment and contribute to creating a globally competitive workforce,” said Yoko Nagashima, task team leader of the project.