Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The World Bank (WB) has approved $700 million to improve the primary education sector in Bangladesh.

The Quality Learning for All Program (QLEAP) will benefit more than 18 million children studying in pre-primary level to grade 5, a WB statement said.

It will finance implementation of the government’s Fourth Primary Education Development Program (PEDP4).

The project will help improve quality and equitable access to primary education. It will help assess and improve learning outcomes for Bangla and mathematics for Grade 3 students.

For this, the programme will develop a stronger curriculum and exam system as well as textbooks and supplementary learning materials, including digital materials.

The programme will help expansion of one-year quality pre-primary education in all government schools.

The project will bring about one million out-of-school children to learning centers that would follow national curriculum, and thus help them integrate with the formal education system.

It will also build about 95,000 classrooms, teachers’ rooms, and multipurpose rooms to ensure international standard students-to-classroom ratio.

The project will also build 80,000 water and sanitations blocks and 15,000 safe water sources with special emphasis on facilities for girl students and female teachers. It will also recruit and provide training to about 100,000 teachers.

The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association, which provides grants or zero-interest loans, has a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.

The WB was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence.

Since then, the World Bank has committed nearly $28 billion in grants and interest-free credits to the country.

In recent years, Bangladesh has been among the largest recipients of the World Bank’s interest-free credits.