The government of Bangladesh today signed two financing agreements totaling $715 million with the World Bank to improve the primary education sector, and to help the country produce timely and quality statistics.
Both the agreements were signed by Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam and World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh Qimiao Fan on behalf of the government and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association, which provides grants or zero-interest loans, has a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.
By improving quality and access to primary education, the $700 million World Bank finance for ‘Quality Learning for All Program’ will benefit more than 18 million children studying in pre-primary level to grade 5.
The Project will help improve learning by developing a stronger curriculum and exam system, creating a well-trained teacher pool, using ICT in education and regular systematic assessment. In all government schools, the project will help improve recently introduced one-year pre-primary education.
World Bank Country Director Qimiao Fan said Quality education is the key to development. Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in improving access to education and is among a few developing countries to achieve gender parity in school enrollment.
“Since 1998, the World Bank has been supporting the primary education sector, which helped to bring almost all children to primary schools. This project will focus on improving quality of education, and help Bangladesh realize its vision to become an upper middle-income country.” he added.
The project will enroll one million out-of-school children in learning centers. It will ensure that disadvantaged children are not left out and can receive quality education at pre-primary and primary level. It will also build quality school infrastructures.
To attain the global standard of Teacher-Student Ratio, the project will recruit more than 100,000 teachers in addition to the existing 400,000 primary school teachers.
Further, around 100,000 teachers will receive improved training including Diploma in Education under the University of Dhaka. The $15 million finance for National Strategy for Development of Statistics Implementation Support Project, also signed today, will help improve the capacity of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) to produce quality core statistics and make them accessible in a timely manner to policy makers and the public.
“Statistics is at the heart of evidence-based policy making. Data collection is critical for resource allocation, monitoring and evaluation as well as for effective management of human capital,” added Fan.
ERD Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam said the government of Bangladesh aims to provide quality education to all children by 2030. The financing will directly contribute to the government’s Fourth Primary Education Development Program (PEDP4) to ensure that every child receives quality education.
“Recognizing the importance of timely and quality statistics in policy decisions, the government approved the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics in 2013. The project will support implementation of the key elements of the strategy.” he added.