DHAKA, September 8, 2016 – Bangladesh today signed a $100 million financing agreement with the World Bank to improve the education and management in the National University-affiliated colleges so they can teach more market-relevant skills to create a competitive workforce for the country.
The $100 million College Education Development Project will improve the education system of the government and non-government colleges affiliated with the National University, where around 1.6 million students are currently enrolled. The project will also provide more than 100 competitive grants to participating colleges to improve the teaching and learning environment by introducing improved internet connectivity, developing market-relevant soft skills of the students, and linking them with employers. The project aims to strengthen the strategic planning and management capacity of the colleges.
“Every year 2.1 million youths enter the job market in Bangladesh and creating more and better jobs is the top development priority for the country. A skilled and competent youth workforce will help Bangladesh to attain middle-income country status by 2021,” said Zahid Hussain, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. “The College Education Development Project will help create better employability of the youths entering the workforce.”
The project will help fill 2,700 vacant teacher positions at the government colleges. The project will promote teachers’ development and provide training for around 8,000 college teachers and managers through establishing a training consortium with national training agencies and the University of Nottingham in Britain to ensure global best practices in teachers’ training.
“For sustaining Bangladesh’s remarkable progress in reducing poverty and accelerating economic growth, there is a strong demand for college graduates with job-specific technical skills,” said Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh. “Bangladesh is now focusing on improving the quality and relevance of college education systems to produce graduates with more market relevant skills and create a competitive workforce for higher level jobs. This will help achieve the country’s quest of reaching middle-income status by 2021.”
The agreement was signed by Azam and Hussain on behalf of the government and the World Bank respectively at the Economic Relations Division.
The credits from the World Bank’s International Development Association, its grant to low-interest loan arm, have a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.