Project Name
Skills for Employment Investment Program
Project Number
Country / Economy
  • Bangladesh
Project Status
Project Type / Modality of Assistance
  • Grant
  • Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
MFF Facility Concept 0081-BAN: Skills for Employment Investment Program
Source Amount
Government of Switzerland US$ 30.00 million
MFF Facility Concept 0081-BAN: Skills for Employment Investment Program
Source Amount
Asian Development Fund US$ 350.00 million
MFF Facility Concept: Skills for Employment Investment Program
Source Amount
Chevron U.S.A. Inc. US$ 1.00 million
MFF Facility Concept: Skills for Employment Investment Program
Source Amount
World Bank US$ 79.00 million
Strategic Agendas
  • Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change
  • Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
  • Governance and capacity development
  • Knowledge solutions
  • Partnerships
  • Private sector development
Sector / Subsector
  • Education /

Gender equity theme
The investment program supports the Government of Bangladesh's reforms in skills development, anchored in the National Skills Development Policy (NSDP), 2011. It supports large-scale private sector involvement and public-private partnership, which is critical to meet existing and future labor market needs and to reduce skills gap. This in turn is crucial for Bangladesh to move away from the 'low-skill, low-wage equilibrium' to a 'higher skill, higher wage virtuous cycle' to become a middle-income country. The investment program helps the government scale-up skilling of new entrants and up-skilling of existing workers to contribute to higher growth of priority sectors. It strengthens skills development in Bangladesh by establishing a unified funding system (National Human Resource Development Fund) and enhancing overall coordination of the currently fragmented system through the National Skills Development Authority.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The Bangladesh economy has grown rapidly at about 6% annually since 2003, up from 5% in the 1990s. The poverty headcount index declined sharply from 57% in 1992 to 31% in 2010. Social indicators have improved significantly, particularly for women. However, despite impressive progress, the 2010 labor force survey indicated that more than 60% of the labor force has either no education (40%) or up to primary education (22.8%); about 2 million young people enter the labor force every year. The average wage per worker has remained low at Tk200 per day for day laborers and Tk3,500 per month for garment workers.

With the approval of the National Education Policy and the NSDP, the government embarked on major education and training reforms. The National Education Policy emphasizes the overall importance of education and training, while the NSDP reinforces the importance of skills development and opens up the sector for major policy and institutional reforms. Bangladesh has achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education participation since 2000. Women's labor force participation grew from 26% in 2003 to 36% in 2010. A major opportunity for the country comes from its declining dependency ratio, from a high of 108% in 1974 to 66% in 2010, leading to an increasing share of the working age population in the next three decades. However, this opportunity cannot be capitalized on unless urgent investments are made in much higher quality schooling combined with at least a four-fold increase in skilling and/or up-skilling of the labor force, which is expected to increase from 56.7 million in 2010 to 78 million in 2025.

In its Perspective Plan 2021, Bangladesh articulates its vision to achieve middle-income status by 2021, including reducing the poverty rate by half. To accelerate economic growth from the current 6% to 8% and above, the government must address the skills shortageone of the key binding constraints. Skills development requires a two-pronged approach. First, it must be anchored in foundational skills that come from high-quality schooling combined with relevant vocational and technical skills to capitalize on the demographic dividend. Second, it requires scaling up skills training by four to eight times the current annual training capacity to (i) increase labor force productivity to contribute to higher average household income leading to higher gross domestic product, (ii) double exports within 10 years, (iii) double remittances through higher skills leading to higher per capita remittances, and (iv) promote economic diversification including trade facilitation and industrialization.


Increased income and productivity of the working population aged 15 years and over.

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome

Increased employment in priority sectors and skills for males and females.

Progress Toward Outcome

The latest national data (2016-2017 Labor Force Survey) indicates:

i) formal sector employment of 14.9% (M:17.9%; F:8.2%); and

ii) unemployment for ages 25-34 at 5.7% and for ages 15-24 at 12.3%.

Comparable definition for the share of vocational training not available in the latest national report (2016-2017 Labor Force Survey).

Figures will be updated once latest national report becomes available.

Implementation Progress

Description of Project Outputs

Market responsive inclusive skills training delivered

Quality assurance system strengthened

Institutions strengthened

Effective program management

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Output 1:

434,854 total trainees enrolled under Tranches 1, 2 and 3, of whom 31% were female. The number of certified new entrants was 343,704 out of whom 242,075 (70%) were employed. 72,572 poor and disadvantaged trainees received special stipends, of whom 50% were female.

Output 2:

RPL Program has been dropped from Tranche 1 due to overlapping efforts with the World Bank program.

As of 31 Dec 2020:

- 87 competency standards have been created and implemented, 47 of which were endorsed by BTEB; 60 learning materials have been produced and validated by the BTEB; and 87 assessment tools have been developed.

- 393,466 were certified in Tranche 1 and 2, of whom 31% were female.

- 116 public training providers have been registered with SEIP support.

- about 2826 trainers and 205 assessors have completed ToT. ToT programs ongoing in partnerships with different overseas and local institutions.

Output 3:

As of 31 Dec 2020, MTBF will be part of the revised national skills development policy discussions, which is ongoing.

Organogram of NSDA has been cleared by Finance Division. Recruitment process is expected to start soon.

NHRDF was established on 16 May 2018. Finance Division approved organogram, recruitment rules, operational manual and TVET fnancing manual for NHRDF. NHRDF has started to recruit its own staff.

Public institutes (about 116) under SEIP partnership granted partial delegation of powers for SEIP program.

Output 4:

As of December 2020, MTBF will be part of the revised national skills development policy discussions, which is ongoing.

Real time Trainee Management System (TMS) created under Tranche 1, is being used for monitoring various aspects of SEIP training. TMS established and operationalized with inputs from all training programs. Continuous improvement of the system is also ongoing.

Financial management and procurement action plan being implemented.

First tracer study and employer satisfaction survey have been completed, and the second is being prepared. The first skills gap analysis has been completed and the second is ongoing.

Geographical Location

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects
Category C
Involuntary Resettlement
Category C
Indigenous Peoples
Category B

Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation

During Project Design
Representatives of the project stakeholders were consulted during program preparation. The stakeholders consulted were the TVET regulating body, those responsible for labor market functioning, industry and other employers, private and nongovernment organization providers of TVET, and development partners. The program will seek inputs from other stakeholders, such as trade unions, new TVET students, TVET graduates, parents, and international employers, and secondary and higher education institutions to improve the quality of training.Likewise, public consultations were conducted with industry associations, public training institutions, the Bangladesh Bank small and medium enterprise program, and Palli-Karma Sahayak Foundation, which partners with more than 200 nongovernment organizations.
During Project Implementation
Regular consultation is undertaken during program implementation not only to identify any program-related grievances but also to seek feedback from the community on how it sees the program achieving its targets. Adequate participation of civil society organizations in project implementation is also ensured through constant dialogue, workshops, training programs, and dissemination of findings from monitoring and evaluation.

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services
All consultants will be selected using ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2013, as amended from time to time). Since this program is being financed by ADB's Special Fund resources and ADB will also be administering cofinancing to be provided by the Government of Switzerland, ADB's member country eligibility restrictions will not apply to this program. Up to nine industry associations and PKSF will be contracted by the executive agency using single source selection to deliver skills training in agreed sectors and skills areas.
The government will procure all goods, works, and consulting services for the investment program. Goods and civil works will be procured in accordance with ADB's Procurement Guidelines (2013, as amended from time to time). Goods valued at more than $1 million and works valued at more than $2 million will be procured using international competitive bidding and ADB's standard bidding documents, and be subject to prior review. Goods and works valued below the international competitive bidding threshold will be procured using national competitive bidding in accordance with the government's Public Procurement Act (2006) and it's Public Procurement Rules (2008), subject to modifications agreed by the government and ADB.


Responsible ADB Officer
Lee, Sunhwa
Responsible ADB Department
Sectors Group
Responsible ADB Division
Human and Social Development Sector Office (SG-HSD)


Concept Clearance
18 Nov 2013
Fact Finding
29 Sep 2013 to 11 Oct 2013
04 Feb 2014
19 May 2014
Last Review Mission
Last PDS Update
30 Jun 2021


MFF Facility Concept 0081-BAN

Financing Plan
  Total (Amount in US$ million)
Project Cost 380.00
ADB 350.00
Counterpart 0.00
Cofinancing 30.00
Loan Utilization
  Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Cumulative Contract Awards - 0.00 0.00 %
Cumulative Disbursements - 0.00 0.00 %
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