DHAKA, January 10, 2013 — The government of Bangladesh today signed a $130 million financing agreement with the World Bank for the Second Reaching Out of School Children Project. The project will continue to support efforts to achieve the country’s ‘Education for All’ goal. The project will bring back to school 720,000 children from poor and disadvantaged families who have either dropped out of school or missed schooling at right age, mostly due to poverty.
The project will provide stipends to the students and grants to the Learning Centers known as the Ananda Schools (School of Joy) for underprivileged children. It will cover 148 remote or poor upazillas and help these children complete primary education in the Ananda schools and move on to formal secondary education.
The Second Reaching Out of School Children Project is built on the success of the first Reaching Project that provided another chance for primary education to nearly 780,000 poor children in 23,000 Ananda Schools in 90 low-income upazillas. It is a tribute to this model that the pass rate of Ananda school students for the terminal examination had risen to 87 percent in 2012, from 73 percent in 2011, demonstrating that children from the most disadvantaged settings can also perform through non-formal schooling.
“In addition to expanding coverage, emphasis in this new project will be on enhancing the quality of this non-formal schooling drawing upon expertise from the government and academia,” said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh. “The project will also move into urban areas for the first time to provide educational opportunities to children living in slums. And information technology will be applied to strengthen social accountability and service delivery.”
A pre-vocational skills training scheme for older ROSC students will also be piloted. The project will focus on enhancing quality of education through extensive teacher’s training and use of ICT in implementation, monitoring and receiving feedback on school activities. The Ananda schools blend provision of formal education with a non-formal mode of delivery. The project will continue to empower the rural communities to establish, own and manage their Ananda Schools with support from government and local education NGOs.
“ROSC II will contribute significantly to achieving the government’s goal of primary education for all by 2015, as stated in the National Education Policy (NEP, 2010),” said Mr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh. “The government has adopted ROSC as a model for its country-wide initiative for rural areas to bring back to school all poor children who have dropped out or never enrolled.”
The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period; it carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.