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GoB with IDA's support, initiated the first Female Secondary School Assistance Project (FSSAP) (1993-2001) which played a key role in fostering gender parity in access to secondary schooling in rural areas. IDA funded the implementation of female stipend program in 119 Upazillas, while GoB and other development partners (ADB and NORAD) financed the intervention in the remaining Upazillas. The FSSAP-II (2001-2008) has helped to sustain the previous intervention by initiating a series of innovations and pilot measures to improve quality, equity and accountability. However, key challenges remain, which include:

  1. low systemic quality as reflected in low completion rates, and declines in the number of pupils appearing for SSC examinations;
  2. many poor children are still left out of the secondary school system, and this problem is becoming particularly acute for poor boys;
  3. institutional capacity remains weak with management, coordination and implementation capacity needs to be strengthened all the way from the central to the school level; and
  4. monitoring and evaluation at both central and local level remains weak.