Strengthening the School Stipend Schemes

Presently, the highest coverage of social protection schemes for children is during school age, mainly via the Primary and Secondary Student Stipends. Around 12.7 million children receive stipends, with the majority at primary school. Coverage is around 24 percent of primary school age children and 17 percent of secondary school age children. However, the transfer level of the stipends is low– and their purchasing power has fallen in recent years – and, as a result, are unlikely to address the poverty constraints experienced by many families. The real value of stipends also falls if more than one child receives them in a family.

The Government will make two significant changes to the stipend schemes. Coverage will be extended to the 50 percent poorest children in primary and secondary schools respectively, with no distinction by gender. Furthermore, the transfer value will be increased to Tk.240 per month, which is more in line with international experience (when measured as a percentage of GDP per capita) and there will be no reduction in the value of the benefit for families with more than one child. The value of the benefit will be indexed to inflation.

However, a maximum of three children per family will be able to receive the stipends at any one time. The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education and the Ministry Education will prepare detailed implementation plans for the respective primary and secondary stipends schemes and submit them to the Cabinet for approval by December 2014. The revised programme will be implemented from July 2015.