5:16 pm - Sunday May 24, 0601

WB grants to strengthen BD college education

The World Bank today approved $213 million for two projects in Bangladesh to improve weather and climate information services and to strengthen college education provided through affiliates of the National University.

The $113 million Weather and Climate Services Regional Project will help Bangladesh provide reliable weather, water and climate forecasts and enable communities, especially farmers, to access weather information services easily. The $100 million College Education Development Project will help improve the teaching and learning environment of government and non-government colleges affiliated with the National University.

‘To reach middle-income country status by 2021, Bangladesh needs to focus on priority areas, which include creating a skilled and competent workforce, and helping weather-dependent wbsectors cope better with climate uncertainties and natural disasters,’ saidQimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. ‘Modern hydro-meteorological forecasting services will improve disaster preparedness, while a stronger college education system consisting of 1.6 million students will help university graduates become more employable. These two projects, in turn, will help raise income-levels and reduce poverty.’

The Weather and Climate Services Regional Project will strengthen hydro-meteorological monitoring and forecasting, and improve early warning systems. The project will help develop agro-meteorological services to farmers and provide tailored weather and climate data, and services. The project will also support community level early warning systems for extreme weather events in the districts of Netrakona, Sunamganj Rajshahi and Naogaon.

‘By providing access to weather and climate related information, the project will help the farmers cope with weather and climate extremes and increase agricultural productivity,’ said Poonam Pillai, Task Team Leader, Weather and Climate Services Regional Project, World Bank. ‘The project will set up agro-meteorological information kiosks in 487 Upazila and agromet display boards at 4,051 Union Parishads, enabling at least 300,000 farmers adjust to weather variability at the farm level.’

In Bangladesh, over two-thirds of the students at tertiary level are enrolled in government and non-government colleges. The College Education Development Project will support better education for graduate and masters students in the National University affiliated colleges. It also aims to strengthen the strategic planning and management capacity of the colleges. In addition, the project will help fill vacant teacher positions at the government colleges and provide training for around 8,000 college teachers and managers.

‘As the first donor-supported intervention in college education, the project will support an improved teaching and learning environment and contribute to creating a globally competitive workforce,’ said Yoko Nagashima, Task Team Leader, College Education Development Project, World Bank.

The credits are from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s grant and low interest arm. They have 38 years to maturity with a 6-year grace period and carry a service charge of 0.75 percent.