The FINANCIAL -- The government of Bangladesh launched on May 19 implementation of $100 million additional financing provided by the World Bank to strengthen technical and vocational education in the country. The World Bank’s additional financing will provide 420,000 poor students with the skills to find better jobs in the local and overseas job markets.
In October 2015, the World Bank Board approved the additional $100 million financing to the ongoing Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) to help modernize public and private polytechnic institutions. With the additional financing, the World Bank’s total support to the project stands at $179 million, with co-financing of $16.7 million in grants from the Government of Canada.
“A more skilled workforce is crucial for Bangladesh to realize its aspiration of becoming an upper-middle income country. For this, the country needs to invest more in education, skills and training,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. “The additional financing will help improve the quality of technical and vocational education and training. It will also support critical reforms to enable the country to prepare a globally competitive workforce for better-paid jobs.”
The additional financing will enhance STEP’s initiative to increase enrollment, particularly for female students in technical and vocational education and training. The additional support will enable more private and public polytechnics to improve classrooms and laboratories, and establish industrial partnerships for internships, job placement and job counselling services, according to the World Bank.
STEP has already provided stipends to more than 110,000 poor diploma students in 93 private and public polytechnic institutions that enabled them to continue education. In addition, nearly 77,000 youths have received free 6-month vocational training in 38 trades including electrical, automotive and garment sectors. Nearly one-third of the students were women and 95 percent of the students completed the courses. Within six months of completing the courses, 42 percent of the trainees were employed.
STEP helped align curriculums with market demands. The project has so far trained 1,200 teachers and filled 95 percent of vacant teaching posts in polytechnic institutions. For the first time, 9,000 informal workers got formal skills certification through the Recognition of Prior Learning Program. This will help them get better jobs.
Nurul Islam Nahid, Minister for Education, was present as the chief guest in the launching ceremony. Government officials, civil society, academics and development partners joined the workshop.