The Government of Bangladesh on January 5 signed an agreement with the World Bank for a $100 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) for the ongoing Third Primary Education Development Program (PEDP3). The grant will help 19.5 million children in primary school to receive primary education and complete grade 5.
Thanks to PEDP3 and its predecessor programs, today over 97% Bangladeshi children enroll in primary schools and nearly 80% of these children complete their primary education. PEDP3 also helped mainstream one year of pre-primary education in public primary schools. Nearly 2 million poor children attended pre-primary education in 2014, the World Bank said.
“The World Bank has been a long standing partner of Bangladesh in the education sector. PEDP3 and its predecessor programs have been designed to ensure that every primary school-age child in Bangladesh is able to come to school, receive quality education, and complete the primary school cycle,” said Iffath Sharif, Acting World Bank Country Head for Bangladesh. “To build on these achievements, the World Bank, Global partnership for Education, and other development partners have enhanced support to further improve the quality of the primary education system.”
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 also ensures merit-based teacher recruitment and fills in vacant positions. The government has recently introduced a university-level diploma in primary education as part of a comprehensive Teacher Education Development Plan.
“PEDP3 contributes to realize the government’s vision of ‘Education for all’,” Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division, government of Bangladesh. “The grant adds additional support to scale up PEDP3’s ongoing efforts to ensure inclusive and equitable quality primary education, including instituting pre-primary program to enhance the learning experience of the poorest children; standardizing teacher training; and, modernizing textbook distribution.”
Through this grant, the Global Partnership for Education joins the World Bank and nine development partners who already support PEDP3, a government-led program. With the $100 million grant, the PEDP3 program stands now at $9.9 billion. The World Bank’s current contribution to the program is $700 million.
“Pre-primary and early primary education are key to getting children ready for a successful school life,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education. “Our $ 100 million grant will help strengthen Bangladesh’s education system and support the Government to ensure equal access and learning for all children and reduce the number of out-of-school children. In this context it will also be important to strengthen the collaboration with civil society organizations,” she added.
The financing agreement was signed by Kazi Shofiqul Azam and Iffath Sharif, on behalf of the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.