The government has taken a massive project worth Tk 4,030.96 crore to ensure women empowerment by creating job opportunities, ensuring higher education and increasing the capacity of women leaders.
The government recognizes that empowering women is crucial to ending poverty, officials said.
Bangladesh has made significant progress in promoting the objectives of ensuring gender equality and empowerment of women, experts said.
The current government has been working relentlessly for ensuring women’s overall development by affording them equal and active participation in the mainstream socio-economic activities and removing the various impediments to their empowerment, they mentioned.
To expedite women’s economic empowerment, comprehensive initiatives have been undertaken by providing extensive training, creating job opportunities, ensuring participation in higher education and providing support to small and medium women entrepreneurs.
As part of the government move, University Grants Commission (UGC) placed the project proposal to the planning commission for approval from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting, a planning commission official said.
The total cost of the proposed project from the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education is Tk 4,030.96 crore.
Of this, the government will provide Taka 2,188 crore while the remaining will come from foreign loan.
According to sources, this loan will be taken in the currency of World Bank's Special Drawing Rights (SDR).
The loan is to be repaid within 30 years with a grace period of five years.
However, annual service charges at the rate of 0.75 percent and interest at the rate of 1.25 percent have to be paid annually on the loan.
UGC member Prof Dr Md Sajjad Hossain said, "More investment is needed in higher education. Higher education should be better. Loans and grants are needed in any project. There should be more investment in educational technology."
An official of ERD said a negotiation meeting was held on 25 May 2021 to receive loan assistance of $191 million from the World Bank.
The World Bank approved the loan on 24 June 2021.
According to Planning Commission sources, the implementation period of the proposed project will be five years and six months.
About Tk 327 crore have been proposed for the training of university teachers in the country, including the establishment of a temporary University Teachers Training Academy (UTTA) by renting a house at a cost of Tk 42.93 crore.
However, the Finance Department has asked to review the expenditure.
Under the project, around Tk 322 crore has been proposed for construction of residential and non-residential buildings including construction of an academic complex, dormitory for women in hilly area of Chittagong.
According to the existing public works rate schedule-2022 along with the plan and drawing-design of the necessary buildings, the planning commission expressed an opinion regarding the attachment of the engineering cost details to the planning commission in the Development Project Proposal (DPP).
Apart from this, the commission has given instructions to verify how many public universities will set up child care centers under the project and attach the actual number, details and engineering cost estimate to the DPP as per public works rate schedule-2022.