Bangladesh: Skills and Training Enhancement Project

April 11, 2014


Understanding how a UPS works at training center in Chittagong, Bangladesh

Mahfuzul Hasan Bhuiyan/World Bank

To ensure better employment opportunities for the Bangladeshi labor force, in both local and overseas job markets, skills development and vocational education have to be aligned with the market demand. The Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) aims to strengthen public and private training institutions, to improve the quality of skills training and employability of trainees, both at home and abroad, including those from disadvantaged socio- economic backgrounds. Since the project was approved in 2010, 69,000 diploma students from 93 polytechnic institutions received stipends and 29,700 trainees received training from these training providers, 25% of them being women.


In recent years, remittance from migrant workers has been a driving force of the Bangladesh economy. However, Bangladeshi migrant workers, who speak little English, have poor basic formal education and few vocational industry-specific skills, often face severe job insecurities. They are usually the first to lose their jobs as the economies of the popular migrant destinations begin to experience economic recession. They also fail to avail themselves of the better jobs that require higher skills. Even at home, their lack of relevant skills and a mismatch between supply and demand leads to very poor employability and lower wages for them. Furthermore, the recent increase in the demand for skilled labor, both nationally and globally, continues to pose a threat to the Bangladesh economy as the skill-base of workers here is severely limited.


STEP aims to increase the skill levels of the workforce to ensure competitiveness in both the labor and product markets. Enhancing the range and quality of vocational training will help the country to more effectively utilize the overseas employment opportunities and increase Bangladesh’s remittance earning. Through effective vocational training, the project hopes to increase the average wage that a migrant can demand in the international labor market as well as reduce the risk of unemployment in times of financial crisis. At home, with the increase in skills, the export industry will be able to diversify the product base it offers to consumers. STEP is designed to address the key issues concerning the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) sector in a number of ways. First, by incorporating views from industries and civil society it seeks to ensure that the programs being offered are relevant to the needs of the labor market. Secondly, it would ensure that the teacher-trainer vacancies that have remained open for a period of six months or more are filled. Thirdly, the project breaks new ground by supporting both public and private institutions and thereby creating a level playing field. Polytechnic institutions that perform well in terms of pass rates, number of teachers trained, and placement rates of students within a period of six months after completion of the program, will receive a performance grant of $200,000 on top of their initial implementation grant of up to $1 million. Short-courses providing institutions receive $250 per student of which $60 is stipend to the student. In addition, 20% performance grants of the per student amount offered to institute for each trainee, who is employed within six months of completion of their training.  Finally, the project provides stipends to students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Students receiving a stipend must maintain 75% annual attendance and 45% pass marks in the annual examinations. STEP also aims to pilot new TVET schemes, especially at the secondary school certificate (SSC) level, in an attempt to link schools with community and other training providers. Furthermore, it plans to pilot an apprenticeship program, orient students to vocational education and training in their early years and revise the curriculum with a focus on technical skills.

" I have enrolled in Electrical Engineering Diploma course. I am now receiving stipend to continue my course. I will be able to find better employment and support my aged parents. "




Since the project was approved in 2010, it has achieved the following results:

  • 69,000 diploma students from 93 polytechnic institutions received stipends.
  • 43 out of 93 polytechnics are public institutions.
  • 30 polytechnics selected for implementation grants and 50 training providers selected as short-course training providers.
  • 29,700 trainees received training from these training providers, 25% of them being women.

Bank Group Contribution

IDA financing of $79 million for the Bangladesh - Skills and Training Enhancement Project was approved on June 10, 2010. The project is scheduled to close on June 30, 2016.


Course on Electrical House wiring at NIT- National Institute Technology Muradpur Chittagong

Ismail Ferdous/World Bank


The project is providing financing of the Bangladesh - Skills and Training Enhancement Project and operational support to the implementing agency, the Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh. Recently, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has contributed around $20 million grants to the project.

Moving Forward

The project will introduce key reforms at the institutional level to improve the functioning of the TVET sector.


Computer course at Chittagong Mohilla Polytechnic Institute

Mahfuzul Hasan Bhuiyan/World Bank
diploma students from 93 polytechnic institutions received stipends.