Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– UNICEF and the European Union have teamed up on Monday to support the Government of Bangladesh in the establishment of an efficient, inclusive, and equitable primary education system delivering child-friendly quality learning to all Bangladesh’s children from pre-primary up to Grade V.
The partnership was formalized on the day through a signing ceremony between the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, Ambassador William Hanna and UNICEF Bangladesh Representative Pascal Villeneuve.
Through the partnership, the European Union has given a US$ 3.5 million grant to UNICEF for four years (2012-2016) for the Third Primary Education Development Program (PEDP-III), which covers Grades I to V and one year of pre-primary education.
“Quality education is a basic human right. But for many children in Bangladesh this right has not yet become a reality. Education requires involvement of all – parents, teachers, students, communities, civil society groups, NGOs, development partners and government. Thus, we are pleased to have the European Union partnering with us on helping to make quality education a reality for all children in Bangladesh. We thank the European Union for its generous support,” said UNICEF Bangladesh Representative, Pascal Villeneuve.  
The financial contribution received from the European Union will be used by UNICEF as technical assistance for capacity building under PEDP-III and will cover a number of aspects like Each Child Learns; Teacher Education and Development; Alternative and Second Chance Education; Pre-Primary Education; Education in Emergencies; and Decentralized School Management and Governance.  
Bangladesh has taken successful strides in meeting the goal of universal primary education, particularly in improving and expanding access. Gender Parity has already been achieved in Primary and Secondary education. However, pre-school enrolment is still low and dropout continues to be high. Indicators for children from urban slums, isolated areas and ethnic minority children are below the national average. The UNICEF-EU partnership will contribute to the strengthening of capacity of government institutions so that the investment in primary education can improve quality and reduce disparity.
BBN/SSR/SI-03Dec12-10:10 am (BST)