Asian Development Bank (ADB) Thursday signed a loan agreement worth $90 million with Bangladesh to overhaul the country’s secondary education sector and build the foundation for developing a skilled labour force.
The assistance is the first tranche of the $500 million Secondary Education Sector Investment Programme (SESIP) approved by ADB in September this year, said a statement from the Manila-based lender.
Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad, secretary of Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Division (ERD) and M. Teresa Kho, country director for ADB’s Bangladesh Resident Mission, signed the loan agreement.
“Skills shortage is a key challenge Bangladesh is facing to graduate to the next orbit of development,” said Teresa Kho.
The $90 million ADB assistance under the first tranche of the SESIP will help link teaching and learning with market, ADB said, adding that teaching equipment, laboratories, tools and teacher training will be provided to improve courses like science, mathematics and English.
The SESIP, scheduled to be completed in 2023, will support the Bangladeshi government’s 10-year secondary education reform plan. This plan expects an increase of about 3.5 million students and requires an additional 145,000 teachers and 10,000 more schools by 2023, according to the statement.
About two million youths are entering the Bangladesh job market annually but nearly 90 percent of them end up in poorly-paid informal work that requires few skills, according to the ADB.
While Bangladesh has made great efforts in improving enrolment rate, secondary schools still suffer from outdated courses and teaching materials, a lack of common school standards, poor teaching and weak management, it added.