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Washington: The World Bank on Thursday approved a credit of $79 million to Bangladesh for its Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP).

The project will assist the country in further developing its human capital resources. While approving the grant Ellen Goldstein, World Bank country director for Bangladesh, observed that an increasingly skilled labor force would be necessary to accelerate economic growth in the country.

STEP seeks to strengthen public and private training institutions that would improve the skill set and employability of the workforce.

“Enhancing vocational training will increase employability, allow workers to command higher wages in international markets, and allow for greater diversification and value-added in export production," Goldstein said.

The growing work population in Bangladesh supports key export industries and generates remittances that account for approximately 30% of the national income.

According to World Bank, in 2009, Bangladeshis working overseas sent nearly $9 billion in remittances at home. The country is also emerging as an exporting powerhouse especially in the garment industry.

This, along with greater participation of women and young people in the labor force, has considerably increased demands on institutions delivering education and skills.

The Skills and Training Enhancement Project will further Bangladesh’s objective of developing human resources as a cornerstone of poverty alleviation through a variety of proven and innovative reforms of the pre-employment TVET system.

Besides enhancing quality and access to various vocational programs, the project will also foster private sector participation in institutional management as well as administrative, academic, and financial autonomy to enhance learning and employment outcomes.

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