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ADB Strengthening Secondary Education in Bangladesh
Two ADB loans totaling $115 million would help improve secondary education quality
Golam Mustofa Sarowar (Golam)     Print Article 
Published 2006-11-03 05:56 (KST)   
Two ADB loans totaling US$115 million would help improve the quality and relevance of secondary education in Bangladesh, while increasing poor students' access to schools, said an Asian Development Bank release on Thursday.

The Secondary Education Sector Development Project will, through a $30 million loan, support policy reforms aimed at strengthening the management and governance of the sector, the curricula and national examinations, and teacher education. It will also promote policy reforms targeted at developing school facilities and providing stipends to poor students, including girls.

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Complementing these reforms will be a $85 million loan to furnish and equip schools, train personnel and upgrade the curricula, including through computer studies and e-learning, to be piloted in 20 schools.

"ADB's education projects in Bangladesh aim to more closely match secondary education to the needs of the country's labor market," said ADB senior Social Sectors Specialist Leah Gutierrez.

"Relevant and quality education will support the continued social and economic development of the country, which, in turn, will expand job opportunities."

An ADB education project approved in 1999 supported the first six years of the Government's 10-year development plan for the sector.

While Bangladesh has achieved significant increases in secondary education enrollment in past two decades, mainly through the fast growth of non-government schools and madrasah, which together comprise more than 97 percent of schools offering secondary education, poor quality remains a major issue.

Dropout and failure rates across the general secondary schools and madrasah remain high. The curriculum is overburdened and needs to be more relevant. The quality of examinations needs to be improved and teaching made more effective.

To boost access to education, the project loan will build and furnish 56 new community-managed schools in underserved areas. Facilities and additional classrooms will be provided for 250 overcrowded schools for girls and poverty-targeted stipend assistance will be granted. In addition, one madrasah in each of the 30 districts will be turned into a model madrasah, with two new classrooms, laboratories, a library, computers, and other furniture and equipment.

Annually, the 56 new schools will benefit an additional 16,800 students, while the 560 additional classrooms in selected schools and madrasah will benefit more than 22,000 students.

The Government will contribute $28.3 million equivalent toward the project's estimated total cost of $113 million.

Both loans come from ADB's concessional Asian Development Fund. The program loan carries a 24-year term, including an 8-year grace period, while the project loan carries a 32-year term, also with a grace period of 8 years. Interest charge is 1% per annum during the grace period, and 1.5 percent per annum afterwards.

The Ministry of Education is the executing agency for the project, which is due for completion in June 2013.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Golam Mustofa Sarowar

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