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Dhaka Tribune

ADB to lend $12m to improve primary edu

Update : 24 May 2015, 08:26 PM

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $120m loan in additional funding for a six-year government-led programme to improve the quality and reach of primary education in Bangladesh, said a press release yesterday.

The loan will be complemented by co-financing from the European Union, the Global Partnership for Education, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Bank. 

The government of Bangladesh will provide the remaining $1.7bn for the country’s $9.8bn Third Primary Education Development Programme, which was launched in 2011. 

ADB’s original financing was a $320m loan, and it agreed in 2011 to make more funds available if implementation was successful.

This was confirmed by a joint midterm review by the government and its development partners completed in September 2014, which called for a greater focus on results. 

The additional funds are expected to raise key performance indicators relating to student achievement, access and efficiency in Bangladesh, which has one of the largest primary school systems with over 19.5 million children enrolled in about 106,000 primary schools. 

The midterm review notes the project has increased enrollment and reduced dropout rates across the country, but this trend is lower among disadvantaged groups such as children from small ethnic communities, children living in slums, and children living with disabilities. 

“Although the programme has helped Bangladesh make considerable progress in meeting its education targets enshrined in Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3, much work remains to be done,” said ADB senior social sector specialist Rudi Van Dael. 

“This additional funding will help deepen ongoing reforms, scale up successful project interventions, and complete already scaled-up activities.” 

To deliver an efficient, inclusive, and equitable primary education system, the projects aim to continue building the capacity of both students and teachers, reduce disparities in access to education, decentralise oversight of the primary education system, and improve programme planning and management. 

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