Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The World Bank has approved a US$300 million credit for the Third Primary Education Development Program (PEDP III) to support primary education in Bangladesh.

The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm. The credit carries a 0.75 percent service charge, a maturity of 40 years, including a 10 year grace period, a World Bank press statement said.

The project aims at ensuring merit-based teacher recruitment and improving teacher education; delivering textbooks to no fewer than 90 percent of primary schools within the first month of the start of the school year; effectively use school level grants; adequately finance sector budget; creating needs based infrastructure development; measuring student learning; developing a competency-based national primary completion examination.

The PEDP III aims to increase net enrollment to 98 percent and primary completion rates to 65 percent by 2015.

Building upon the success of the first and second Primary Education Development Programs, PEDP III stands out for its new way of doing business with a results-based approach. Clear targets have been set and agreed between the Government and all development partners.

There are 16.5 million children currently enrolled in primary level education, the result of impressive gains in access in recent years.

Currently only 60 percent of children enrolled complete grades 1-5 in five years and only 44 percent of these go onto secondary school.

Along with the World Bank, eight other development partners have indicated their commitment to support the government’s PEDP III, the cost for the first four years is an estimated US$5.89 billion. Of this, the total development partner contributions will be US$909.4 million.

BBN/SSR/SI-27Aug11-7:44 pm (BST)