Source: www.asiaecon.org |
WORLD BANK TO PROVIDE $81 MILLION TO IMPROVE HIGHER EDUCATION IN BANGLADESH
The World Bank approved an interest-free $81 million credit to Bangladesh for investment in the country's higher education institutions. The credit is designed to improve the quality of teaching and research, as well as the relevance of higher education. Although the credit is interest-free, it carries a service charge of .75 percent, with a 40 year maturity and a 10-year grace period.
The credit to Bangladesh for investment in the country’s higher education institutions. The credit is designed to improve the quality of teaching and research, as well as the relevance of higher education. Although the credit is interest-free, it carries a service charge of .75 percent, with a 40 year maturity and a 10-year grace period.
The majority of the $81 million will be in support of the Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project. The objective of this project is to improve the quality of relevance of the teaching and research environment in higher education institutions through encouraging both innovation and accountability within universities and by enhancing the technical and institutional capacity of the higher education sector. To achieve this goal, funding will be directed to capital investments, research, improved quality of teachers, management, and education.
In Bangladesh, primary and secondary school enrollment has been making great progress since independence in 1971. The primary school enrollment rate is around 90 percent, and secondary school enrollment has more than doubled since 1971. In addition, gender parity has been achieved at both levels. Despite steady improvements in primary and secondary schools, progress at the higher education level has not followed a similar trend.
Bangladesh’s tertiary enrollment rate is one of the world’s lowest at 6 percent, primarily due to significant challenges from funding, quality, governance, and management.
“Higher education is vitally important to energize Bangladesh’s economy and to boost its investment climate,”said World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh Zhu Xian. “This project will fund activities which can bring rapid and visible benefits to the academic community, and help more Bangladeshi youth enroll in universities.”
Part of the $81 million dollars will go into a project which will help establish a mechanism, the Academic Innovation Fund (AIF), which will allocate resources based on performance. Yoko Nagashima, World Bank task team leader for the project reported, “the project’s goal is to reward universities that demonstrate vision, innovation, and discipline. AIF resources will be made available as a grant for all eligible public and private universities on a competitive basis”.
The project also aims to establish a Bangladesh Research and Education Network (BdREN) and an Information and Communications Technologies network (ICT), which will provide high performance connectivity among education and research institutions in both public and private sectors to enable academics, scientists, and researchers to communicate globally.
Bangladesh is no stranger to credit loans from the World Bank. In 2007, they received a $149 million credit to support the improvement of water supply and sanitation services to the population of Dhaka. The Dhaka Water Supply and Sanitation Project was designed to reduce mortality and morbidity in rural and urban populations caused by arsenic contamination of groundwater. Institutional reforms as well as infrastructure rehabilitation went underway to provide improved conditions in the water supply as well as sanitation.
The World Health Organization estimated that access to an improved source of water supply increased only slightly from 72 percent to 74 percent between 1990 to 2004, but coverage of improved sanitation jumped from 20 percent to 39 percent during the same period.
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Source: www.asiaecon.org |