European Union provides 42m euros to strengthen Bangladesh’s education system

Students of Bhum South Government Primary School in Manikganj's Singair received new textbooks on the first day of the year 2020 on Wednesday as the government kicked off the festival to distribute the books for free across Bangladesh. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman
The European Union has transferred €42 million to Bangladesh to support key national reforms in the education sector.

The grant is a recognition of the government’s commitment to the development of human capital, the eradication of poverty and inequalities, along with its commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the EU said in a statement on Thursday.

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 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 the government’s own reform agenda and institutional capacity towards a comprehensive education and skills development approach.

"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 Rensje Teerink, the ambassador of the EU.

“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 marginalised ones.”

The programme intends to provide a total of €217 million as budget support linked to jointly agreed performance indicators.

It 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.