23 Sep 2023, 18:04

WB approves US$300m to help Bangladesh improve secondary education

DHAKA, Sept 23, 2023 (BSS) - The Board of Executive Directors of World Bank 
(WB) has approved US$300 million to help Bangladesh recover from learning 
losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The support will also introduce complementary online learning blended with 
in-class education to build system resilience, improve learning outcomes and 
teaching quality and reduce the dropout rate in secondary education. 

"Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in education over the years and was 
among the first few developing countries to achieve gender parity in lower 
secondary school. But, the prolonged school closure during the COVID-19 
pandemic has had a profoundly negative impact on learning and forced many 
poor girls to leave school," said Abdoulaye Seck, WB country director for 
Bangladesh and Bhutan.
"The World Bank will continue to help Bangladesh recover from learning losses 
by improving learning outcomes and teaching quality so that students graduate 
with the skills they need to live a rich and fulfilling life and strive in 
society," he added.
The Learning Acceleration in Secondary Education (LAISE) Operation will 
support the government's Secondary Education Programme, said a press release 
here today. 

With an aim to accelerate learning, the programme will have a focus on core 
subjects such as mathematics, English and Bangla for grades 6 and 8, as these 
are foundational for future learning. 

It aims to increase proficiency of Grade 8 students in mathematics to 65 
percent from the current 28 percent and Bangla to 90 percent from 66 percent. 

To reduce dropout rates, the program will provide stipends to eight million 
students and ensure 5,000 institutions have active sexual harassment and 
prevention committees in place. Further, about 7,200 schools will have 
programmes to improve reading proficiency, and 15,000 teachers will receive 
training to improve their teaching skills.
The programme will also support mental health counseling and help prevent 
gender-based violence in at least 30 percent of targeted schools.

To recover from learning losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme 
will support digitization and phased rollout of the newly-approved curriculum 
as well as additional remedial classes for learning recovery.
It will also support the government's blended education masterplan ---a 
combination of in-class and online learning- and offer personalized resources 
to students so they can learn at their own pace.

"To keep children in secondary schools in climate-vulnerable regions, the 
program will take additional steps beyond providing stipends and help those 
who have dropped out to re-enroll," said TM Asaduzzaman, World Bank Senior 
Education Specialist and Team Leader for the project.
"In climate vulnerable areas, blended teaching will help keep learning on 
track even if schools are forced to close due to floods or cyclones. The 
program will also mainstream climate education into the curriculum to foster 
climate-smart mindsets and behaviors," he added.

The credit is from the World Bank's International Development Association 
(IDA), which provides concessional financing, and has a 30-year term with a 
five-year grace period.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support 
Bangladesh. Since independence, the World Bank has committed about US$40 
billion in grants, interest-free and concessional credits to the country.
Currently, Bangladesh has the largest IDA programme in the world with a total 
of $16.07 billion commitment to 56 ongoing projects.

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