May 25, 2024, 9:19 pm


Staff Correspondent

Published:
2024-03-16 22:28:25 BdST

54 lakh students to get support through Nagad


The Prime Minister's Education Assistance Trust will give stipends to some 54 lakh underprivileged and meritorious students in the secondary level through Nagad, a leading mobile financial service provider in Bangladesh, with a view to ensuring their enrolments in schools.

Under the stipend disbursement programme, students from class six to 10 will get Taka 5,000 each in one-time assistance. The disadvantaged students have already applied online for the stipends, with disbursements expected to start very soon.

Earlier, this stipend was distributed through several channels, but various alleged irregularities were observed.

To bring discipline, the government has decided to disburse this assistance solely through Nagad this time, according to a recent decision made by the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education under the Education Ministry.

According to the officials familiar with the matter, the stipends for secondary level students under the PM's Education Assistance Trust had been disbursed through several mobile banking services, including Nagad, and even through bank.

But, there had been numerous problems in stipend disbursements through such different entities. "We found it very difficult to monitor and verify whether the stipends were reaching actual beneficiaries. To address this issue, we wanted to choose a single platform. We have easily chosen Nagad as it has already proven its capability through successful distribution of primary education stipends to 1.5 crore students," said a high official of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education.

"Previously, various organisations distributed this stipend among underprivileged students in different ways as they use different software, causing difficulties for us to monitor them if disbursements were performed properly. To address this issue, the Secondary and Higher Education Directorate has opted for stipend distribution through Nagad," he noted.

Furthermore, considering the number of customers, Nagad is currently the largest mobile banking company in the country.

At present, they have over nine crore registered customers. Additionally, with three lakh agent points across the country, it is possible to withdraw money from anywhere at any time.

"Maybe, this is why the government has chosen it solely for disbursing the PM's education assistance," said an official of the institution.

"In the past few years, we have taken disbursements of government's allowance and stipends to a different level. If we talk our success, there is no one closer to us. Therefore, government agencies always prefer Nagad's services," said Muhammad Zahidul Islam, vice-president and head of Media and Communication at Nagad Ltd.

Furthermore, he said stipend disbursements under the PM's Education Assistance Trust are a sensitive project.

"There is no other reason why Nagad has been entrusted with the task. Its costs are also much lower. All of these keep Nagad ahead of others," he added.

Earlier, in the last week of January, the Prime Minister's Education Assistance Trust issued a notification, stating that the Trust will provide admission assistance to poor and meritorious students enrolled in secondary and equivalent levels in various educational institutions under the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, Directorate of Technical Education, and Technical and Madrasa Education Division in the year 2024.

Students were asked to go to the designated website and apply online to receive admission assistance. To be eligible for this assistance, the parents' annual income must be less than Taka two lakh.

Additionally, children of employees in grades 13 to 20 of government, semi-government, autonomous, and constitutional bodies will also be considered for the education aid. To receive admission assistance, students must submit a photo, signature, birth certificate, national identity cards of parents, and recommendations from the heads of educational institutions in the designated form.

Previously, in 2013, a fund amounting to Taka 1,000 crore was set up under the PM's Education Assistance Trust. Since then, every year, underprivileged and meritorious students at the secondary, higher secondary and graduate levels have been provided one-time assistance.

The education aid has been fixed at Taka 5,000 at the secondary level, Taka 6,000 at the higher-secondary level and Taka 10,000 at the graduate and equivalent level, according to the government's decision.

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