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Nagad to Disburse Stipends to 54 Lakh Students in Bangladesh




The Prime Minister’s Education Assistance Trust has announced its initiative to provide stipends to around 54 lakh underprivileged and meritorious students at the secondary level in Bangladesh through Nagad, a prominent mobile financial service provider. The aim is to ensure their enrollment in schools.

As part of the stipend disbursement program, students from classes six to ten will receive Taka 5,000 each as one-time assistance. Online applications for the stipends have already been submitted by disadvantaged students, with disbursements set to commence shortly.

Previously, this stipend was distributed through various channels, but concerns about alleged irregularities prompted the government to reconsider. To enhance transparency and efficiency, it has been decided to distribute this assistance solely through Nagad, according to a recent decision by the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education under the Education Ministry.

Officials familiar with the matter reveal that stipends for secondary level students under the PM’s Education Assistance Trust were previously disbursed through multiple mobile banking services, including Nagad, and even through banks. However, various problems arose during these disbursements, making it challenging to ensure that the stipends reached the intended beneficiaries.

To address these issues, the decision was made to streamline the process through a single platform. Nagad was chosen due to its proven track record in successfully distributing primary education stipends to 1.5 crore students.

Moreover, Nagad is currently the largest mobile banking company in Bangladesh, with over nine crore registered customers and three lakh agent points nationwide, facilitating convenient money withdrawals.

Government agencies favor Nagad’s services due to its successful track record in disbursing government allowances and stipends. Additionally, Nagad’s lower costs make it a preferred choice for such initiatives.

In late January, the Prime Minister’s Education Assistance Trust issued a notification stating its intention to provide admission assistance to poor and meritorious students enrolled in secondary and equivalent levels in various educational institutions. Eligibility criteria include an annual parental income of less than Taka two lakh and considerations for children of employees in certain government sectors.

Since 2013, a fund of Taka 1,000 crore has been allocated under the PM’s Education Assistance Trust to provide one-time assistance to underprivileged and meritorious students at different educational levels. The assistance amounts have been fixed at Taka 5,000 for secondary level, Taka 6,000 for higher-secondary level, and Taka 10,000 for graduate and equivalent levels, as per government decisions.

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‘Genuine’ SSC, HSC certificates for sale!



hsc ssc

Over the last couple of years, if one with ill intentions knew who to pay, he or she could obtain a “genuine” SSC or HSC certificate from the Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB), regardless of his or her student status.

Be it to turn failing grades into passing ones, improve GPA, and obtain a certificate without even having to take the exams — all was made possible by one man on the inside: AKM Shamsuzzaman, a system analyst at the BTEB who charged between Tk 15,000 and Tk 50,000 to deliver each certificate.

The Detective Branch of police revealed how he operated after arresting him along with his accomplice, Faisal, from his Agargaon home early today.

According to Mashiur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Lalbagh Division DB, Shamsuzzaman sold over 5,000 forged certificates over the last couple of years

He began his operation by first stealing a substantial amount of the papers on which the BTEB printed genuine certificates.

He then printed fake certificates on genuine papers on his own initiative and sold them to clients.

As a final flourish of legitimacy, these certificates were uploaded to the board’s server database, allowing the clients to show verification if they were ever challenged.

Detectives are now trying to determine if he had more accomplices, the DB official said.

Speaking to reporters during the drive, Shamsuzzaman said he learned how to prepare the certificates from another system analyst who was also involved in the forgery.

He said he has so far produced and sold around 5,000 forged certificates and shared the profit with others involved in the operation.

DB chief Harun Or Rashid said, after receiving complaints, a DB official, using a false identity, contacted Shamsuzzaman for a fake certificate. He later delivered a certificate in exchange for Tk 35,000.

“One would pay depending on their requirement,” he said.

Many got successfully enrolled at colleges or universities with these forged certificates, the DB official said.

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Nearly 40% of Youth Not in Education, Employment, or Training: BBS Data




The percentage of youth neither studying nor working or taking any kind of training has slightly decreased from 2022’s 40.67% to 39.88% in 2023.

The data was disclosed by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) while officially releasing the “Bangladesh Sample Vital Statistics 2023: Key Findings” at BBS headquarters in Agargaon, Dhaka today (24 March).

The statistics also revealed that the ratio of mobile phone users aged 5 and above stands at 59.9% in 2023. However, for 15+ year olds, the rate has slightly increased to 74.2% compared to 2022 (73.8%).

Also, 50.1% of all people aged 15 and above used the internet in 2023, the study found.

Meanwhile, the life expectancy of people in Bangladesh stood at 73.3 years in 2023, which was 73.4 in 2022.

At present., about 1,171 people live per square kilometre in Bangladesh.

State Minister for the Ministry of Planning Md Shahiduzzaman Sarkar was present as the chief guest at the publication event.

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Australia tightens student visa rules as migration hits record high




australia student visa

Australia will begin enforcing tougher visa rules for foreign students this week as official data showed migration hit another record high, which is likely to further exacerbate an already tight rental market.

From Saturday, English language requirements for student and graduate visas will be increased, while the government will get the power to suspend education providers from recruiting international students if they repeatedly break rules.

“The actions this weekend will continue to drive migration levels down while delivering on our commitments in the migration strategy to fix the broken system we inherited,” Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said in a statement.

A new “genuine student test” will be introduced to further crack down on international students who look to come to Australia primarily to work, while the imposition of “no further stay” conditions will be used on more visitor visas.

The moves follow a raft of actions last year to close off Covid-era concessions introduced by the former government, including unrestricted working hours for international students. The government at the time said rules would be tightened for students that could halve its migrant intake over two years.

Australia boosted its annual migration numbers in 2022 to help businesses recruit staff to fill shortages after the Covid-19 pandemic brought strict border controls and kept foreign students and workers out for nearly two years.

But the sudden influx of foreign workers and students has exacerbated pressure on an already tight rental market.

Date released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday showed net immigration rose 60% to a record 548,800 in the year to September 30, 2023, higher than the 518,000 people in the year ending June 2023.

Overall, Australia’s population rose 2.5% – the fastest pace on record – to 26.8 million people in the year to last September.

The record migration – driven by students from India, China and Philippines – has expanded labour supply and restrained wage pressures, but it exacerbated an already tight housing market where rental vacancies hovered at record lows and elevated construction costs restricted new supply.

O’Neil said the government’s actions since September have led to a decline in migration levels, with recent international student visa grants down by 35% on the previous year.

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