COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$15 million

Years: 2020-2021

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: Respond to the education needs of crisis-affected children and youth (3-18 years) in Cox’s Bazar district.
Allocation: US$8,332,407
Years: 2018-2021
Grant agent: UNICEF
Disbursements: US$0

In September 2018, the GPE Board approved US$8.3 million in accelerated financing for Bangladesh for the schooling of Rohingya children and youth in camps and those in surrounding host communities.

The interventions supported by the GPE grant are aligned with the Joint Response Plan (JRP) for Rohingya refugee crisis launched in March 2018. As such, the program contributes to the following strategic objectives of the JRP set by the Cox’s Bazar Education Sector:

  1. Provide immediate access to equitable learning opportunities in a safe and protective environment to crisis-affected refugee and host community children and youth (ages 3 to 24 years old).
  2. Improve the quality of teaching and learning for refugee and host community children and youth, aligned with the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education and education sector standards, and increase teaching-related professional development opportunities.
  3. Increase refugees and host community participation and engagement in children's education.

A learning framework outlining what Rohingya children should learn and how that will be assessed was developed by GPE partners in consultation with the government.


Read an update on the education activities as of May 2019

Previous grant

The PEDP3 is a US$9.8 billion program financed by the government and development partners. A GPE grant of US$90 million contributed to implementation of the entire program as budget support. The grant agent was the World Bank. The grant was disbursed according to periodical assessment of 9 disbursement-linked indicators:

  1. Production and distribution of textbooks
  2. Teachers with diploma in primary education
  3. Grade 5 primary examination completion exam strengthened
  4. Teacher recruitment and deployment
  5. Pre-primary education
  6. Needs-based infrastructure development
  7. Decentralized school management and governance
  8. Sector finance
  9. Annual primary school census

(See from page 28 of the program document for a full list of indicators with annual targets)

Read the grant completion report


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
COVID-19 2021 15,000,000 0 WB  
Accelerated funding 2018-2021 8,332,407 0 UNICEF Progress update
Program implementation 2016-2018 90,833,333 90,833,333 WB Completion report
Sector plan development 2019-2021 465,000 0 UNESCO  
Program development 2020-2021 294,975 0 WB  
2015 100,000 99,550 WB  
  Total 115,025,715 90,932,883    
Data last updated: March 15, 2021

GPE has also provided the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) with a grant from the Civil Society Education Fund 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 March 10, 2021