DHAKA, January 25, 2015 — The Government of Bangladesh today signed a $400 million financing agreement with the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional arm, for additional financing of the ongoing Third Primary Education Development Program (PEDP3). The loan will benefit 19.5 million children in primary school by ensuring quality learning and completion of the primary school cycle.
Under the additional financing, the World Bank will scale up support for improving primary education from grades 1 to 5. PEDP3 will also continue the rollout of one year of pre-primary education with trained teachers and quality materials, with a focus on public primary schools in disadvantaged areas. Additionally, the program will expand efforts to bring out-of-school children into the school system.
“Today, nearly every child in Bangladesh attends primary school, thanks to successive government programs to bring all boys and girls into the classroom,” said Johanness Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. “To build on these achievements, the World Bank and development partners are stepping up their longstanding support to further strengthen quality, access, and equity, and to establish an effective assessment system in primary education sector. An educated work force will be critical for Bangladesh’s aspirations to achieve middle-income status.”
PEDP3 is considered a landmark program globally, which along with its predecessor programs have helped Bangladesh to increase the primary education enrolment rate to over 97% and completion rate to about 79%. The number of primary schools receiving textbooks within the first month of the school year has increased from 32 percent in 2010 to over 90 percent in 2014.
The program has been supporting merit-based recruitment of teachers for reducing teacher-students ratio. PEDP 3 also supports the development and expansion of an 18 month Diploma for primary school teachers. Facilitated by the program, the Primary Education Completion Exam has been reformed to address testing competencies instead of rote learning. The additional financing will continue to enhance the quality of school facilities and infrastructure, including use of Information Communications Technology.
“Investing in education is investing in a country’s future. The program reflects Bangladesh’s commitment to the ‘Education for all’ agenda,” said Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, government of Bangladesh. “The additional financing would ensure access and equity by bringing the poorest children into pre-primary education, enhancing their learning experience and boosting their earning potential as adults.”
PEDP3 is a government-led program, supported by nine development partners. The program has introduced the use of country systems for financial management and audit, and harmonized external financing to primary education in Bangladesh under a single program.
The financing agreement was signed by Mohammad Mejbahuddin and Johannes Zutt, on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.
The World Bank is the largest external funder in the education sector in Bangladesh. Its current commitment in the education sector is over $ 1.5 billion, which spans primary, secondary, tertiary, vocational education and also includes programs for out-of school-children.
The credits from the International Development Association (IDA) have a 38-year maturity with a 6-year grace period and a service charge of 0.75 percent.