WASHINGTON, June 10, 2010 — The World Bank approved a credit of US$79 million today for the Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP). The project will assist Bangladesh in further developing human capital resources by strengthening public and private training institutions that improve the skill set and employability of the workforce.
This growing workforce supports key export industries and generates remittances that contribute a significant amount to Bangladesh’s economy, accounting for approximately 30 percent of national income. Bangladeshis working overseas sent nearly US$9 billion back in 2009, with the country also emerging as an exporting powerhouse with impressive results in the garment industry.
This, along with greater participation of women and young people in the labor force, has increased considerably demands on institutions delivering education and skills. Meeting this demand by improving the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system will increase the country’s competitiveness in global labor and export markets.
“An increasingly skilled labor force will be needed to accelerate economic growth in Bangladesh.” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. “Enhancing vocational training will increase employability, allow workers to command higher wages in international markets, and allow for greater diversification and value-added in export production.”
The country has taken steps to improve educational enrollment and outcomes, and has achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education. The Skills and Training Enhancement Project furthers Bangladesh’s objective of developing human resources as a cornerstone of poverty alleviation through a variety of proven and innovative reforms of the pre-employment TVET system. In addition to enhancing quality and access to various vocational programs, the project will foster private sector participation in institutional management as well as administrative, academic, and financial autonomy by institutions to enhance learning and employment outcomes.
"Improving the skills of the country’s human resources is a critical input to maintain a competitive edge in global markets. The focus on vocational education and training is expected to have significant impacts on Bangladesh’s economic development, increasing the potential for prosperity among individuals and society at large,” said Nalin Jena, Co-Team Leader and Senior Education Specialist.
The credits from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary arm, have 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period; they carry a service charge of 0.75 percent.