The government has started disbursement of stipends to 1.4 crore students of the primary level in the country digitally.
The money is being disbursed among the students through the ‘Digital Financial Service 'Nagad’ of the Bangladesh Postal Department.
Besides, the students will be provided allowances for their uniforms (shirt, pants and shoes) and other educational materials after the reopening of the educational institutions.
Earlier on Monday, Posts and Telecommunications, Minister Mustafa Jabbar, and State Minister for Primary and Mass Education, Md. Zakir Hossain at a function inaugurated the first phase of disbursement of allowances among the students.
At the function, Md. Zakir Hossain said that the students will get their allowances for uniforms and other educational materials immediately after the reopening of the educational institutions.
All the educational institutions in the country remain closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic since March last year.
According to officials, stipend money so far has been disbursed among 86,452 students of 655 schools in six districts through their guardians’ accounts. Each of the students is being provided with Tk 50 to 300 per month.
The officials said, the distribution of stipend money had remained stopped for about a year due to opacity and procrastination of the distribution system. Later, under the direction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Department of Primary Education signed an agreement with the ‘Nagad’ on December 13.
Terming the process historic, Mustafa Jabbar said the project of distributing allowances and stipends to students through ‘Nagad’ will be considered as a milestone in the development of digitalisation in Bangladesh.
Mohammad Zakir Hossain said all educational institutions in the country remain closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus. All the students will get money to buy uniforms, shoes and other educational materials after the reopening of the government primary schools.
“Each of the students will be given Tk 1,000 as Kids Allowance,” he added.
The dropout rate has decreased up to 18 per cent after the government started the stipends and allowances for them, he added.
Sources said earlier students were provided stipends and educational allowance through another digital financing service or through a different operator named Bkash. But that service was found to be not highly cost effective while various corruptions were found.
In this regard, Zakir Hossain said, “That is why we have chosen a government operator instead of that operator. Besides, the ‘Nagad’ is an organisation of the Bangladesh Postal Department, which will save us a lot of money. So there can be no reason not to choose the ‘Nagad’.
The government earlier had also distributed cash aid to crores of people of the country through the ‘Bkash’ when the COVID-19 pandemic started.