DHAKA, October 13, 2011 – The Government of Bangladesh today signed a US$ 300 million financing agreement with the World Bank for the “Third Primary Education Development Program (PEDPIII).” The program is fully aligned with the Government’s Primary Education Development Program III, to improve quality and participation levels in primary education. The PEDP III will support the Government to increase the net enrollment in primary education to 98 percent and to increase the primary school completion rate to 65 percent by 2016.
This is the third World Bank program supporting the Government’s series of large investments in primary education over the past thirteen years aiming to improve quality, access and retention at the primary level. PEDPIII stands out for its new way of doing business. For the first time, financing is linked to results being achieved on the ground. Along with the World Bank, eight other development partners have indicated their commitment to harmonize support for this Government program.
"Education provides children a basis for better life, better jobs and income when they grow up. Education is a powerful instrument for reducing poverty," said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. "The country can be proud of its remarkable achievement. More than 95% children aged 6 to 10 years attend primary school, as many girls as boys. Now the next step is to keep children in school, extend the length of their education and improve its quality. This is precisely what the Government's program aims to do, which we are pleased to support."
Bangladesh has made remarkable progress with 16.5 million children enrolled in primary education. Despite progress, only 60 percent of the children enrolled complete grade 5. Only 44 percent of the age cohort continues to secondary level. PEDPIII will boost performance by expanding access to one year of pre-primary to strengthen children’s readiness for learning, by improving textbook quality and ensuring their timely delivery and supporting effective teaching through a comprehensive program benefiting pre-service and in-service teacher training.
The primary school leaving exam will gradually be transformed into a competency-based test. A “needs-based” approach to classroom construction will extend primary education facilities in remote areas while also building more classrooms to address problems of overcrowding. Support for School Level Improvement Plans and Upazila Primary Education Plans is to strengthen local capacity and improve school quality.
“The PEDPIII would build momentum on the earlier government programs – the latest having ended in June 2011,” said Mr. Iqbal Mahmood, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh. “Government is confident that its new primary education development program will produce even better results through heightened support for infrastructure, quality education and school governance. This program will support Government in attaining its 6th Five Year targets for primary education and ultimately contribute to a skilled labor force.”
Mr. Iqbal Mahmood, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, and Ms. Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, signed the financing agreement on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.
The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional arm, has a maturity of 40 years, including a 10-year grace period; and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.