The European Union (EU) today transferred Tk423 crore (around EUR 42 million) to the government for supporting key national reforms in the education sector.
With this grant, the EU recognises and supports the government's commitment to the development of human capital, the eradication of poverty and inequalities, along with its commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, said a press release.
This is the second disbursement under the EU sector budget support "Human Capital Development Programme 2021", which focuses on strengthening the education and skills sector of Bangladesh with a specific focus on primary, as well as on technical and vocational education and training.
In line with the National Education Policy and National Skills Development Policy, the EU support aims to contribute to Bangladesh's own reform agenda and institutional capacity towards a comprehensive education and skills development approach.
"Education is fundamental for the economic growth of a country and remains at the core of EU's development cooperation. Reaping the maximum benefit of Bangladesh's demographic dividend will largely depend on an inclusive and equitable quality Primary Education and Technical and Vocational Education system designed to cater for the future job market and employment generation," said the EU Ambassador Rensje Teerink.
"The EU is concerned, however, about the continued school closure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Once the pandemic situation allows it and when effective precautionary measures can be taken, the re-opening of schools must proceed as soon as possible, in particular, because access to alternative distant schooling solutions remains a challenge for a large number of students, especially the marginalized ones," she added.
The programme of support to education reforms intends to provide a total of EUR 217 million as budget support linked to jointly-agreed performance indicators. The programme addresses core elements of system strengthening and policy development. Technical assistance is also available to support the cluster of institutions responsible to coordinate and deliver education reforms.
The disbursement of this second payment comes after a positive decision of the Budget Support Steering Committee of the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development in May 2021.