At a time when the government was worrying about how to tackle the fund crunch the Education For All (EFA) programme would face at the end of the first phase of the five-year programme that began in 2004, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) commitment to support the EFA Pool Fund from next year has indeed come as a big relief. Reports say the ADB has pledged $30 million for the remaining term of the EFA, while the UNICEF’s amount is yet to be made public. The EFA programme, which would cost $814 million in the first five-year phase, is expected to fall short by $250 million at the term’s end in 2009.

Education, undoubtedly, is the key to development and empowerment. The nation’s and an individual’s all-round growth is unthinkable as long as educational access is denied to the vast majority of the people. More importantly, the old mindset to block transparency and accountability has to go. Since a huge chunk of donor money is bound to change hands, all transactions have to be made absolutely transparent. All the INGOs, NGOs and the so-called private companies involved in development works will have to be more accountable to the public. After all, the people have the right to know who is giving how much to whom and for what purpose. Unless transparency is institutionalised, the danger of resources being misused remains. The government, if it wishes to see that the funds yield maximum results, must make sure the target groups are in the know besides being directly benefitted.