The World Bank has approved a total of $390 million in additional financing for two ongoing projects to improve education in Bangladesh. The financing includes $265 million for Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project (SEQAEP) and $125 million for Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project.
These two projects will support the Bangladeshi government in sustaining its efforts to improve educational outcomes, the bank said in a statement.
"Investing in education is investing in a country's future", said Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Nepal. "Bangladesh deserves praise for achieving gender parity in primary and secondary education, but more needs to be done to improve the quality of education, and to ensure that young people in hard-to-reach parts of the country also have access. These additional financings, through improving quality monitoring and also providing stipends to poor students, will contribute directly to these objectives, and indirectly to higher growth."
The SEQAEP is designed to improve the quality of secondary education, systematically monitor learning outcomes, and to increase access and equity in project upazilas (districts), according to the World Bank. The $265 million additional financing for project would enable 4.5 million rural students to continue education in secondary level annually. The additional financing will scale up activities within 125 current upazilas and in 90 additional upazilas to improve secondary education quality, systematically monitor learning outcome and ensure greater accountability at the school level.
The project will continue to provide poverty-targeted stipends and tuition to girls and boys to increase access and retention.
"The additional financing will continue to focus on rural areas, rural institutions and rural children," said Ayesha Vawda, World Bank Team Leader for Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project. "This financing will ensure that poor children are not left out of the secondary school system. The project will directly benefit poor students, teachers, and school management committees in the 215 Upazilas all over the country where the project is implemented."
The main objective of the Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project is to improve the quality and relevance of the teaching and research environment in higher education institutions through encouraging both innovation and accountability within universities and by enhancing the technical and institutional capacity of the higher education sector, according to the World Bank.
The $125 million additional financing for project will continue to support initiatives to improve the quality and relevance of teaching and research in the country's higher education institutions. The operation will continue to promote academic innovation in both public and private universities through a competitive funding mechanism, known as the Academic Innovation Fund.
In addition, the Academic Innovation fund would include an additional window to support stronger university-industry linkages to enhance the employability of graduates.
The World Bank provides a great deal of funding to the education sector in Bangladesh. Currently, the bank's commitment in education sector including the additional financing approved today stands over $1.1 billion that spans across primary, secondary, tertiary, vocational level and also focuses on out-of school-children.
"Higher education is important to improve youth employability and to boost Bangladesh's economy," said Yoko Nagashima, World Bank Team Leader for Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project."This operation will also establish a Quality Assurance Mechanism at both national and institutional levels and continue to support reforms in teaching-learning and research in higher education institutions."