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The National Education Policy 2010 adopted by the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) attaches the highest importance to secondary level education in order to improve the quality of education through teaching-learning process, to increase equitable access, reduce the dropout rates and retain the existing students. To realize the overall target of the policy the government has undertaken numerous projects and programs. Among them ‘Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project (SEQAEP)’ is one of the biggest poverty targeted safety net projects in the secondary education sub-sector.

Indeed the SEQAEP is a follow on project of Female Secondary School Assistance Project (FSSAP) I & II. The Government of Bangladesh initiated the first FSSAP in 1993 supported by International Development Agency (IDA). The interventions contributed highly to reduce gender disparity in access to secondary education. It was basically a stipend providing project for female student. The FSSAP II contributed to sustain the previous interventions by introducing a number of innovations and pilot measures to improve quality, equity and accountability. However, the quality education and access enhancement have remained as one of the great concerns of the government.

To build upon the successes of the past decade and to address the challenges of secondary education mentioned above the government has been implementing SEQAEP since July 2008 with the support of the World Bank (WB). Thus the SEQAEP has been implemented by the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) under the Ministry of Education (MoE). The project is being implemented in and around 12,000 secondary educational institutions under 250 Upazilas covering 64 districts with support from the IDA of the WB.

The overall development objective of the project is to improve quality of secondary education, enhancing equitable access and systematically monitor teaching-learning outcomes. It has 4 main components comprising of 13 sub-components. Until 2011 the pace of SEQAEP implementation was remarkably slow and the progress was lagging behind. The original project has been revised for three times. Based on the MTR recommendation the first revision was carried out in 2012 in order to remove constraints and overcome the challenges in implementation. The second revision was made in January 2014 through the provision of Additional Financing to institutionalize the successes of the original project, to scale up the interventions of the project and bring more institutes and Upazilas under coverage. The third revision was brought in May 2016 to bring more Upazilas and institutions under coverage and to reallocate the existing resources to more efficient and effectively. The estimated cost of the original SEQAEP was BDT 122100.00 lakh, while the cost of the AF SEQAEP has been estimated to BDT 340080.00 lakh.

Thus, the revision extended the SEQAEP to December 2017 and expanded the project activities in around 12000 institutions of 250 Upazilas to deepen the impact of well performing SEQAEP. Since inception SEQAEP has already been completed about 8 years of its implementation journey though it was not smooth all the way.