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Basic Education


Accessible, good quality education is crucial in fighting poverty effectively. It reduces the risk of social exclusion, enables people to develop, earn an income, gain control over their lives and take part in society. Good education promotes social and economic development in a country. For this reason, education is at the centre of Dutch development co-operation policy.

The Netherlands supports developing countries that develop and implement, preferably  sector-wide, education plans. We co-operate with other countries, international organisations and civil society organisations in the Netherlands and abroad. The common goal is to ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, are able to attend and complete their schooling, and to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education.

The Dutch education budget is growing. As from 2007, 15% of the total development budget will be spent on basic education in developing countries. The money will mainly be spent on improving access to and the quality of basic education, on promoting literacy and on basic vocational training.

In Bangladesh, the Netherlands supports formal and non-formal basic education programmes. The budget for education in 2007 will  be 28 million.

The Netherlands supports the Government of Bangladesh second Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP II, 2004-2009): a comprehensive programme of support for formal primary education. The programme focuses on (i) organizational development and capacity building, (ii) quality improvements in schools and classrooms, (iii) infrastructure development, and (iv) equitable access. A consortium of 11 development partners supports this programme. The Netherlands contribution to this programme is 45 million. The programme effectively started in July 2004. A Mid Term Review is scheduled for October 2007. This will be a major stocktaking exercise for the programme.

In non formal education, The Netherlands supports various activities. The biggest share of the Dutch contribution to non formal education goes to the BRAC Education Programme (BEP). Apart from one classroom primary education, BRACs Education Programme also covers pre-primary education, which prepares young children for the primary education system. This is an area where the Government and the NGOs co-operate. The programme furthermore includes an adolescent development programme focussing on life skills for adolescents. The BRAC Education Programme started in July 2004 and will continue until June 2009. A consortium of 5 development partners supports the programme. The Netherlands currently holds the chair of the consortium. The Netherlands contribution to this programme is currently 50 million.

The Netherlands furthermore supports the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), a coalition of more than 450 education NGOs. CAMPE promotes Education for All through advocacy, social mobilization, and by enabling NGOs to deliver their non formal education programmes. CAMPE works with the Government, civil society and member NGOs. The Netherlands Embassy, together with Swiss Development Cooperation and Oxfam Netherlands, supports CAMPEs Quality Education for All Programme (2007-2012). The Dutch contribution to this programme is 2.290.000.


The Netherlands also supports the Institute for Educational Development of BRAC University. Dutch support to BU-IED involves an amount of 580.000 for an initial period of two years. This support enables BU-IED to carry out its core activities in the field of primary and secondary education, with a focus on improving learning outcomes, teacher development and education research. The programme is co-funded by The Royal Norwegian Embassy and Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).


The Netherlands education programme also provides support to the ILO project to the Time Bound Programme for prevention and elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL) in the urban informal economy of Dhaka. This programme withdraws children from hazardous working conditions and provides their guardians with viable alternatives. Major project strategies are social protection of the children and their guardians, monitoring, verification and tracking of this group of children, advocacy and awareness on WFCL, and capacity building of beneficiaries, partners and stakeholders. Non-formal education and skills training are key activities of the project. The Dutch contribution to the five year programme (2007-2011) is 8.3 million.

The Netherlands is an active member of the Education Local Consultative Group (ELCG), a forum of development partners in the area of education in Bangladesh. The ELCG serves as a platform for exchange of information and policy dialogue.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is also the focal point in Bangladesh for the Netherlands Fellowships Programme (NFP). Mid-career professionals who are interested in further training can apply for fellowships for a large variety of courses in the Netherlands. The NFP focuses on meeting the need for further training in the short term, and on capacity building in a wide range of government, private and non-governmental organisations.


The Education and Development Division of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports a programme for South-South co-operation in higher education (called SII), which is also open to international/regional organisations based in Bangladesh. More information on this programme can be found on SII

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