Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The World Bank (WB) has approved a US$130.7 million soft loan to improve the quality of secondary education in Bangladesh.

The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the WB’s concessionary arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period; and it carries a service charge of 0.75 per cent, a WB press statement said in Dhaka on Friday.

The Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project will finance activities in 121 Upazilas aimed at improving education quality and poverty-targeted stipends and tuition to girls and boys to increase access and retention.

Bangladesh has recorded impressive achievements in the education sector. Since 1980, enrollments in secondary school have increased three-fold and female enrolments have risen seven-fold.

Despite these achievements, significant challenges remain, the WB said, adding that completion rate at the secondary level is as low as 20 percent and many poor children, especially boys, are still left out of the secondary school system.