The Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) has recommended that stipends among primary school students be disbursed through Nagad, a mobile financial service provider of Bangladesh Postal Department, in the current fiscal year (2022-23).
In a recent letter to the secretary to Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, the DPE requested disbursements of primary stipends only through this MFS carrier.
Referring to State Minister for Primary and Mass Education, the letter said, "As per the agreement signed on 13 December 2020, a permission has been given to make a fresh deal with Nagad to disburse stipends. For this, relevant guidelines can be amended."
According to sources, primary education stipend used to be disbursed in keeping with the Government-to-Person (G2P) payment system issued by the Ministry of Finance from time to time. Now, stipend payout happens through a coordination between the Finance Division's G2P system and DPE's integrated digital system.
Earlier, there was an obligation to receive stipends from the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education only through "SureCash". Later, Postal Department's Nagad was entrusted with the task.
Because of its partnership with Nagad, the government's costs of stipend distribution reduced significantly and students get the entire amount as the MFS provider sends stipends along with cash-out charges.
Nagad's Chief Business Officer Sheikh Aminur Rahman said Nagad successfully disbursed education stipends in the fiscal year 2021-2022 at a nominal charge. "We will continue our services with the same transparency and accuracy in the current fiscal year too if we get the job again," he pointed out.
"We are working for the betterment of marginal people. Our disbursement of primary education stipends bears testimony to it," he added.
In the last fiscal year, the state-owned MFS operator sent government stipends to the guardians of over 1.25 crore primary school children. Only in a few months, Nagad completed disbursements of stipends amounting to more than Taka 4,500 crore. And, students' guardians did not face any hassle in receiving the funds.
Students are registered on Nagad's digital platform using information from their birth certificates and mobile phone numbers alongside NIDs of their guardians. So, once the stipends are disbursed, students' guardians instantly receive the funds with cash-out charges in their Nagad accounts.
Each pre-primary student now gets Tk75 in stipend per month, while students of class I-V receive Tk150 each and two children from the same family get Taka 300 a month. And, sixth to eighth graders get Taka 200, and two children from the same family get Taka 400 a month.
To check school drop-outs and keep female students in classes, the government introduced primary stipends in 1999. The government currently disburses stipends among 1.4 crore school children across the country.