February 9, 2016
His Excellency Mr. Masato Watanabe, Ambassador of Japan,
Mr. Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Assalam alaikum, Namaskar, Good Afternoon.
First, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and congratulations to all concerned on concluding the Exchange of Notes and the Grant Agreement for the "Third Primary Education Development Program," or PEDP3.
Under the national program PEDP3, the Government of Bangladesh has been solemnly pursuing improvement of primary education in cooperation with ten development partners since 2011. This Grant Aid of four hundred ninety million Japanese Yen, approximately three hundred nineteen million Taka, will be utilized further improvement of learning for all primary students.
Bangladesh has achieved impressive results in targets under its policy of Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals. Literacy rate for youth has improved to 80%. Gender parity has been accomplished. Enrollment, which was 72% in 1990, is now almost 100%.
The Government of Bangladesh has demonstrated its commitment by, among other measures, increasing government primary schools, distributing free textbooks to all students and expanding stipend for girls'.
Though the progress of PEDP3 is notably significant, the Government of Bangladesh should make some improvements, such as evidence-based planning and timely disbursement, so that it can successfully accomplish the program within the term extended up to December 2017.
Ladies and gentlemen,
JICA has been supporting the primary education sector since 2004, aligning with PEDP2 and 3. JICA's technical cooperation project "Strengthening Primary Teacher Training on Science and Mathematics" has been improving quality of education by enhancing teacher training and brushing up textbooks and teaching materials. JICA is also dispatching a policy advisor to the Directorate of Primary Education to lead discussion among development partners to focus more on quality aspect of primary education.
Moreover, JICA has dispatched ninety-two Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers since 1993 either as science and arithmetic teachers or as trainers of Primary Teachers Training Institutes, both of whom emphasized active and meaningful learning rather than mere rote learning by promoting lesson studies and intriguing teaching tools.
We believe that making classrooms more enjoyable and better-structured is essential for tackling embedded challenges such as high drop-out ratio and low learning achievements.
Lastly, I hope our grant aid will be made most of to materialize universal as well as quality primary education which is not only a passport to a great future of Bangladesh but also a prerequisite to self-realization of each and every Bangladeshi child.
Shobaike Onek Donnobad. Thank you very much.