WB to give addl $6.5m for edn of poor children

Staff Correspondent

19 January, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The World Bank (WB) will provide $6.5 million in additional financing to a key ongoing primary education project designed to help out-of-school children.  

The lender has agreed to provide the credit as second additional financing resulting from exchange rate fluctuation between Special Drawing Right (SDR) and US dollar.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) and the WB inked a credit deal in Dhaka on Monday for the money against the project titled ‘Reaching out of School Children (ROSCII).

ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin and WB Country Director Mercy Miyang Tembon signed the deal on behalf of their respective sides.

The project is being implemented by the directorate of Primary education under the ministry of primary and mass education.

The project has been extended for six months up to June 2021 to implement the remaining project activities with the second additional financing, ERD officials said. 

The additional financing will support 31,200 dropped out and deprived children aged between 8-14 years in 10 city corporations to complete primary education.

This will also help vulnerable out-of-school local youth and adolescents in eight upazilas of Cox’s Bazar and Naikhongchhori upazila of Bandarban districts to complete pre-vocational and enterprise development training.

“The pandemic has disproportionately impacted the education of children from the poor households,” said Mercy Tembon.

“The additional financing will help the slum children and the vulnerable youths build the foundations for better opportunities,” she added.

About 690,000 children -- almost half of them are girls -- studied in the learning centres, known as Ananda Schools in the poorest Upazilas.

The project has also set up around 1,300 learning centres in slums of 8 city corporations, including Dhaka, where about 48,000 children are enrolled.

At Ananda Schools, a single class teacher teaches the students until they are ready for the Grade 5 examination, allowing the poor children to proceed to the secondary schools.

“Bangladesh government is committed to ensuring education for all. Today, almost all children in Bangladesh steps into a school,” said ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin.

The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), concessional loan arm of WB, bears 0.75 per cent service charge and 1.25 per cent interest on the withdrawn credit balance.

The credit is repayable in 30 years with a five-year grace period. A maximum commitment charge of 0.5 per cent will be imposed on undisbursed amount, which is usually waived by the executive board of IDA.

The WB is the largest multilateral development partner of Bangladesh. It has been providing development assistance to Bangladesh in education, energy sector, inland connectivity & logistics, regional and global integration, urbanisation and adaptive delta management sector since Bangladesh obtaining membership in 1972.

Since then, the WB has committed more than $33.5 billion credits and grants to the country.

In order to implement the stimulus packages declared by the Prime Minister to mitigate the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic and to overcome the possible consequences in the economic sectors, the WB has also provided budget support to the government.