The disbursement of stipends and allowances for educational accessories among primary school students through Nagad, the digital financial service of the postal department of Bangladesh, began on Monday.
The stipends and the allowances for the educational accessories were sent to the Nagad wallets of the parents of 86,452 students in 655 schools under six districts in the first phase, read a press release.
The Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) will provide the stipend and the allowances through Nagad among 1.40 crore students this year, largest-ever digital stipend fund distribution in the world of this kind.
Mustafa Jabbar, Posts and Telecommunications Division Minister, and Zakir Hossen, State Minister for the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, inaugurated the fund distribution programme at the secretariat. Golam Hashibul Alam, secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, Afzal Hossain, secretary of the Posts and Telecommunications Division, Alamgir Muhammad Mansurul Alam, director-general of the Directorate of Primary Education, Siraz Uddin, director-general of the Directorate of Posts of the Bangladesh Post Office, and Tanvir A Mishuk, managing director of Nagad, were present among others.
The disbursement of the stipends and allowances for educational materials was halted for almost a year because of non-transparency and inertia in the distribution system. Following the instruction from the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the DPE signed an agreement with Nagad on December 13, 2020. The government's expenses to distribute the funds will come down by less than a third because of the partnership with Nagad, the second largest digital financial carrier of the country.
As per the agreement, a student is signed up on the digital platform anew by inserting their birth certificate with the mobile phone number and NID number of the parent. As a result, the fund is instantly transferred to the Nagad account of the parents of the student as soon as it is sent. The beneficiary also receives the cash-out charge along with the stipend and allowances, so they will not be charged for it.
As per the contact, Nagad ran a registration process which was complicated initially. But once the database will become ready, the registration process would be easier for the years. Once a student's name is added to the database, the government and student will be able to use the information until the completion of his or her study life. The students of only grade one will be added to the database at the beginning of each year. It will ensure the transparency and accountability and increase the efficiency of public money.
Connected virtually at the inauguration programme Mustafa Jabbar, Posts and Telecommunications Minister, said "This is a historic moment. The project of distributing allowances and stipends to students through Nagad will be considered as a milestone of digitalization path in Bangladesh. We would like to assure the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education that we will repay the trust you have keep on us by taking the service of Nagad. Although Nagad is the youngest digital financial service in the country, it is the most beloved service to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. That is why she has chosen this service to distribute stipends to students."
Zakir Hossen, State Minister of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education said, "Because of the stipends and allowances enrollment has increased and dropout has reduced by 18 percent. However, we see that there has been a lot of misappropriation of the public fund in the way the allowance was distributed earlier. That is why we have chosen Nagad which is also owned by the government and they will save huge public money."
Tanvir A Mishuk, managing director of Nagad, said: "Nagad always places the highest importance in the customers. And in this case, the students and their guardians will get the highest level of priority. We can assure that we will win the hearts of all through our services."