Dhaka, Sept 27 (UNB) - The Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $500 million loan to support Bangladesh’s fourth primary education development programme that aims to provide quality education to all children from pre-primary to grade-V.
“Despite a series of investments, Bangladesh’s primary education system has not been able to keep pace with the rapid increase in student enrollment,” said ADB Senior Social Sector Specialist Xin Long.
“ADB’s results-based lending program supports the government’s initiatives—in coordination with other development partners—to tackle the challenges and lift the overall performance of primary education.”
Rapid expansion of primary education has been at the heart of the country’s economic development, which has seen poverty halved since 2000 to 24.3% and Bangladesh reach lower middle-income status.
Bangladesh achieved almost universal access to primary education by 2016 with a 98 percent net enrollment rate.
The efficiency of primary education has also improved.
Despite this progress, Bangladesh still has to improve the quality and equity of primary education, said ADB on Thursday.
A 2015 national student assessment indicated that 35 percent of students at grade-III had yet to achieve the grade-level competencies for Bangla and even 61 percent for mathematics.
The assessment results were even worse for grade-V students.
Moreover, many school-age children are still out of school (about 2.5 million).
This is more prevalent in poor families and in disadvantaged locations such as city slums, according to ADB.
More than three-quarters of schools are running double shifts, therefore limiting teacher-student contact hours, which results in a lower level of learning.
Teachers lack adequate skills and mostly focus on rote learning, while there is also a shortage of teaching and learning material.
Moreover, frequent disasters triggered by natural hazards curtail student attendance in affected schools.
ADB will help the government to improve the quality and equity of primary education through the Fourth Primary Education Development Program.
The programme aims to reduce double-shift operations at schools by recruiting more teachers and building more classrooms, step up teacher education and provide needs-based training for teachers and teacher educators, reform examinations and assessments, as well as enrich teaching and learning resources such as with digital materials.
It will also expand education services for out-of-school children through learning centers, bring more children with special education needs and disabilities to schools, improve school-level performance and management, and strengthen institutions.
To improve the learning environment, the program will provide gender-segregated and disability-accessible sanitation and safe water in almost all schools.
New construction and major retrofitting will meet disaster risk resilience requirements, especially in disaster-prone areas.
To support decentralization, the program will strengthen the capacities of institutions at all levels of primary education offices and increase the support for schools and upazilas with more resources linked to their needs and performance.
The programme is expected to directly benefit 18.6 million students, about 340,000 teachers, and more than 65,000 schools that are under the management of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education.
The government will provide $13.2 billion of the total $14.7 billion program cost, while joint financing development partners, who, besides ADB, include the World Bank, United Nations Children’s Fund, and European Union, will contribute $1.38 billion.
ADB’s loan will be disbursed over 5 years to 2023.
Dhaka, Sept 27 (UNB) - World Bank Vice President for South Asia Region Hartwig Schafer on Thursday said the world needs to provide sustained support to Bangladesh to meet the urgent needs of the Rohingya people as well as the host community in Cox’s Bazar.
After visiting the Rohingya camps in the Cox’s Bazar district, including the Kutupalong camp, the world’s largest and most congested refugee camp, Schafer praised the government and the people of Bangladesh for their generous efforts that saved thousands of lives as the Rohingyas fled violence in Myanmar.
“Despite its own challenges, Bangladesh shelters nearly one million Rohingya, mostly women and children. Bangladesh has also ably coordinated humanitarian support and provided for basic needs. This helps prevent major disease outbreaks and natural disasters in the congested camps,” he said as he concluded a weeklong visit to the country.
“But the need is much larger. The World Bank has mobilized close to half a billion USD financing on grant terms to help Bangladesh deal with the crisis. The global community cannot afford to become distracted from this crisis and needs to provide more support.”
The World Bank approved the first two operations of a series that totaled $75 million in grants, including $13 million in grants from Canada.
These include a $50 million grant to help the Rohingya, especially women and children, receive much-needed health services, and a $25 million grant to help Rohingya children access learning opportunities until their safe return to Myanmar.
Through existing projects, the World Bank is helping the local population.
Walking through the Kutupalong and Nayapara camps, Schafer met Rohingya women, men and children and visited centers for transit, health and learning. He also met local administration, NGOs and development partners.
He visited Ghorashal Power Plant, where the World Bank is helping improve efficiency and double electricity generation capacity.
“The World Bank is helping Bangladesh achieve its growth aspirations through addressing critical barriers to growth such as energy, transport, and urban development as well as investing in human capital,” Schafer said.
“In the power sector we have a strong and expanding program encompassing generation, distribution, transmission as well as expansion in renewable energy. This helped add about 2,000 MW electricity to the national grid, and by the end of this year, another 475 MW will be added to the grid.”
In Dhaka, he participated in the launch of a World Bank report entitled “South Asia’s Hotspots: the impact of temperature and precipitations changes on living standards”.
Making his first visit to Bangladesh as the World Bank Vice President for South Asia, he also met with the Finance Minister, the Water Recourse Minister and other senior government officials as well as with private sector and civil society representatives.
As Schafer concluded his visit to Bangladesh, he said: “Bangladesh has taken a leading role in reducing poverty, improving human development indicators, and disaster preparedness. Other countries can learn from the Bangladesh’s innovative development ideas. There is no reason why, with the right set of policies and timely actions, the country cannot become the next Asian Tiger. The World Bank is committed to support this journey.”
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then, the World Bank has committed more than $29 billion in grants and interest-free credits to the country.
Dhaka, Sep 27 (UNB) - In another major reshuffle in the field-level administration, the government has appointed new deputy commissioners to 10 districts.
The Public Administration Ministry issued a gazette notification in this regard on Thursday.
As per the notification, Atul Sarker, director of Prime Minister’s Office, was made Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Joypurhat, while Sebastin Rema, Private Secretary to Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister, the DC of Gaibandha and Sabina Yesmin, deputy secretary of Medical Education and Family Welfare Division, the DC of Panchagarh.
Besides, Kazi Abed Hussain, Deputy Secretary of Expatriates’ Welfare and Oversees Employment Ministry, was made Thakurgaon DC, while Md Matiul Islam Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary of Road Transport and Bridges Division, the DC of Patuakhali, Dr KM Kamruzzaman Selim, Deputy Secretary of Local Government Division, the DC of Chandpur, Md MahmudulAlam, (attached to Local Government Division) the DC of Dinajpur, Md Ataul Gani (attached to PMO) the DC of Meherpur, M Kazi Emdadul Islam, Deputy Secretary of Public Administration Ministry, the DC of Kurigram, and Mohammad Jakir Hossain, Private secretary of Land Ministry, the DC of Sylhet.
Earlier, the government appointed new deputy commissioners (DC) to 10 other districts.
The Public Administration Ministry issued a gazette notification appointing new DCs to Barguna, Pirojpur, Brahmanbaria, Tangail, Narail, Natore, Chuadanga, Magura, Satkhira and Bogura on September 23.
Dhaka, Sept 27 (UNB) – Two members of Bangladesh Navy were killed and six others injured in a cannonball explosion during a test firing at a ship in the Bay of Bengal in Chattogram on Thursday.
The deceased are identified as Petty Officers MM Rahman and M Motaleb, said Assistant Director Rezaul Karim of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).
He said the cannonball exploded in the ship around 3pm during a naval exercise.
Rezaul also said the six injured Navy members were brought to Dhaka by a helicopter in the evening and they were now undergoing treatment at Dhaka Combined Military Hospital (CMH).
Dhaka, Sept 28 (UNB)- United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and Chinese news agency Xinhua on Thursdaysigned a news exchange agreement, aiming to deepen the mutual cooperation between China and Bangladesh through providing respective news agencies’ services to each other for circulation.
UNB Chairman Amanullah Khan and Xinhua Bureau Chief in Dhaka Liu Chuntao signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides at Cosmos Centre in the city.
Speaking at the agreement-signing programme, UNB Chairman Amanullah Khan expressed the hope that the news exchange agreement would not only expand the scope and add value to UNB service to the clients but also go a long way toward propelling the bilateral relationship between the two friendly countries to a new height.
He emphasised this could be achieved through diffusion of and filtering down news and information of each agency to the common people for the common good.
Xinhua Bureau Chief Liu Chuntao reciprocated by saying that the exchange agreement would open a window of opportunity for both agencies to cash in on and would pave the way for further cooperation in other fields like translation (Bangla Service).