The executive committee of the National Economic Council on Sunday approved nine projects with the total estimated cost of Tk 7,539 crore, including a Tk 2,511-crore project to expand the scope for science education in some 200 government colleges across the country.
The approval came from an ECNEC meeting held at NEC conference room with ECNEC chairperson and prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said, ‘A total of nine projects were approved today involving an overall cost of Tk 7,539.13 crore.’
Of the total estimated cost, he said, Tk 6,751.66 crore will come from the national exchequer, while Tk 528.90 crore as project assistance and Tk 258.57 crore from the own funds of the organisations concerned.
Eight of the projects are new while another is revised one.
In terms of cost, the biggest project is ‘Expansion of Science Education's Scope in Government Colleges Project’ involving Tk 2,511.51 crore. The entire cost will come from government funds.
About the project, the Planning Minister said the Secondary and Higher Education Division under the Ministry of Education will implement the project by June 2021.
The goals of the project are to extend infrastructures, expand scope for ICT and science research and enhance skills of teachers with a view to expanding scope for science education.
The interest of students and the youth for science education has declined in recent times, though science and technology are indispensable in the current world, the minister said.
According to data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics, students in science education at the higher secondary level declined by 11.12 per cent compared to arts and business studies during the period between 1990 to 2013.
In this context, the project was approved which aims to increase infrastructural facilities in some 200 government colleges to expand science education alongside increasing the capacity of the teachers and increasing scope for conducting research on science and technology.
The main project operations include construction of one six-storey academic building in some 176 government colleges having rooms for teachers, classrooms, IT lab cum language rooms, multipurpose halls, common rooms, restrooms, upward extension of the existing academic buildings in some 18 colleges alongside renovation of academic buildings in six colleges, construction of 164-seat male and female hostels in some 47 colleges, providing ICT equipment, furniture and office equipment to some 200 government colleges and 47 hostels.
The other projects are 'Construction of Chittagong Hill Tracts Complex at Bailey Road in Dhaka (1st revised) Project' with an estimated cost of Tk 194.43 crore, ‘Collection of 35 commercial and eight supportive water vessels for BIWTC and Construction of two new slip ways' with Tk 1,319.71 crore, 'Establishment and Commissioning of Optical Fibre Based Telecommunications in 575-Kilometre secondary line of Bangladesh Railways' with Tk 68.72 crore, and Preparation of Master plan and Development of Basic Infrastructures in Upazila Towns (non-municipal)' with Tk 1,380 crore.
The projects also include ‘Development of Physical Infrastructures (Roads and Drains) of Gazipur City Corporation' with Tk 660.80 crore, 'Construction of Residences for Cleaning Workers under Chittagong City Corporation' with Tk 231.43 crore, ‘Enhancing Tolerance of destitute community (Provati) by Development of Infrastructural skills and Information' with Tk 757.68 crore, and Installation of 5 lakh smart pre-paid metres in the areas under Northern Electricity Supply Company' with Tk 414.83 crore.