COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$15 million

Years: 2021-2022

Grant agent: World Bank

Key document:

The US$15 million grant supports:

  • remote learning content through the radio, TV, mobile and online broadcasting
  • learning packages for children from marginalized groups, poor families or with disabilities
  • guidance for parents and a toll-free hotline with teachers to support remote learning from home
  • public awareness campaigns to promote hygiene and COVID-19 related safety practices, and to encourage students to stay in school
  • preparing for school reopening by developing health and safety protocols and providing guidance to local administrations on gradual and staggered reopening of schools
  • re-enrollment campaigns targeted at students most at risk of dropping out
  • training and tools for teachers to support the mental health of students
  • learning assessments to inform remedial programs that mitigate losses in learning.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Bangladesh received a GPE grant of US$140,000 to support the Ministry of Education. The grant was used to:

  • kick off a discussion on the remote learning platform
  • promote COVID-19 education content through social media
  • develop an online platform for teachers.

Education in Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s education system caters to about 40 million students. Learning is offered through both formal and non-formal channels.

The formal education system consists of pre-primary (for 5-year-olds), primary (grades 1-5), secondary (grades 6-12), technical-vocational education and training, and tertiary education. Currently, primary education up to grade 5 is free and compulsory.

Two ministries share management responsibilities for the education system:

  1. The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education for primary education (grades 1–5)
  2. The Ministry of Education for secondary education (grades 6–12), technical and vocational education and training, higher education, madrasahs and other religious schools.

The 2020 Education sector analysis reports that the country has achieved near-universal primary education enrollment with gender parity. The net enrollment rate was 98% in 2018.

Since the influx of refugees from Myanmar, the government has led the humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar. The district historically had some of the lowest primary education indicators in the country. Initially, school attendance rates fell, especially for girls, and dropout rates increased across the district.

But by 2018, enrollment had significantly improved in the district, to a net enrollment rate of 94.6% compared to the national average 98%. However, only 60% of children and youth aged 12 to 24 reported having completed primary school in Teknaf and 75% in Ukhiya.

Due to government restrictions and policy directives, Rohingya children are only allowed informal education, and it must adhere to the Guideline for Informal Education Program.

Of all Rohingya refugees, 51% are children under the age of 18. Despite significant progress over the last two years, more than 30% of Rohingya children and youth aged 3 to 24 still require access to education. 83% of adolescents aged 15 to 18 lack access to educational or skills development activities.

The Joint Response Plan, launched in March 2020, and developed under the leadership of the government, with the humanitarian community closely engaged, found that the main factors preventing children and youth from fully accessing educational opportunities are socio-cultural barriers, early marriage and the need to provide support at home.

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Latest grant

Development objective: Strengthen links between primary and junior secondary education, including technical and vocational education, and primary and junior secondary level madrasah.
Allocation: US$53,900,000
Years: 2021-2022
Grant agent: WB
Utilization: US$0

The $53.9 million implementation grant supports the ambitions of the Bangladesh Education Sector Plan 2020/21 – 2024/25 through strengthened collaboration between the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME) and the Ministry of Education (MoE).

The GPE grant supports technical assistance targeting four implementation wings of the two ministries. Most of the grant will go into a pooled funding arrangement where five development partners (World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European union, Japan and UNICEF) pool their funds to support the implementation of this Fourth Primary Education Development Program (PEDP4).

The grant is integrated as additional financing into the World Bank’s program titled “Quality Learning for All Program” (QLEAP). The QLEAP is managed through a modality of Program for Results (PforR), and the GPE grant will also be managed through this approach.

The program’s main components include:

  1. Improving teacher and headteacher quality through continuous professional development activities.
  2. Introducing remedial education to improve learning outcomes and implementing and institutionalizing learning assessments
  3. Improving efficiency and accountability in school grant management and reporting through open data use to strengthen the country’s institutional capacities
  4. Increasing access to quality pre-primary education.

The MoPME and its implementation agency, the Directorate of Primary Education, will implement programs using country systems to achieve the agreed targets.

To mitigate institutional capacity risk, the PEDP4 Program Support Team, made of specialists, is deployed for the program period and provides continuous dedicated support.

Technical experts will be brought on to support the development and implementation of the new professional development programs, remedial education program, expansion of quality pre-primary education, and other activities under this grant, to address technical advisory needs as well as build the institutional capacity for these new activities.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent  
COVID-19 2021-2022 15,000,000 0 WB  
Accelerated funding 2018-2022 8,332,407 595,030 UNICEF Progress update
2021 10,780,000 0 UNICEF  
Program implementation 2021 53,900,000 0 WB  
2016-2018 90,833,333 90,833,333 WB Completion report
Sector plan development 2019-2021 465,000 432,450 UNESCO  
Program development 2020-2021 294,975 259,549 WB  
2015 100,000 99,550 WB  
  Total 179,705,715 92,219,912    
Data last updated: December 15, 2021

As part of its investment in civil society advocacy and social accountability efforts, GPE’s Education Out Loud fund is supporting:

  • The Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) for the 2019-2021 period. This builds on 11 years of Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) support to national education coalitions for their engagement in education sector policy dialogue.
  • Street Child to mobilize an advocacy alliance across multiple partner countries, including Bangladesh, for the 2021-2023/24 period.

GPE had provided the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) with a grant from the CSEF to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Bangladesh, and GPE data shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.

Primary completion rate

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained

Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.

Last updated July 23, 2021