The World Bank handed a grant worth US$129.99 million to the federal government on Wednesday for the uplift of Sindh's primary education system under the 'Sindh Early Learning Enhancement through Classroom Transformation Project'.
The project financing includes concessional loan of $100m by the World Bank and Education Sector Plan Implementation Grant of $29.99m by Global Partnership for Education (GPE), according to a statement issued by the federal ministry of economic affairs. Besides, an additional GPE Multiplier Grant of $24.78m would shortly be made available to enhance geographical coverage of the project, it added.
The financial agreement was signed between World Bank Country Director Najy Benhassine and Economic Affairs Division Additional Secretary Zulfiqar Haider in the presence of Federal Economic Affairs Minister Omar Ayub Khan and Sindh government chief economist Dr Naeem Zafar.
Khan thanked the World Bank for its support during increasing health and socio-economic challenges the country is facing. He claimed that the provision of quality education was among the top priorities of the government as it was essential for the socioeconomic development and prosperity of a nation.
The minister stressed that equal opportunities in education, for both girls and boys, must be ensured at all levels.
The objective of this project is to improve reading skills of early grade primary students and increase student retention in primary schools in selected 10 districts of Sindh.
The project claims to improve five core elements of learning - prepared learners, effective teaching, learning focused inputs, safe and inclusive school space, and a well-managed education system to end learning poverty. None of these elements can be left out when seeking to make schools functional and ensuring that students learn and stay in school. Using a school-based approach that focuses on quality, redresses support for drop-outs, improved teacher capacity and infrastructure catering to safety and learning needs, will help address the demand and supply side challenges to narrow the gap of girls' access, transition, and retention rates. The project will pilot a school-based behavioral intervention that will help students recognise that their abilities and skills can change and grow and will focus on key skills such as student efficacy and self-management.
Khan claimed that despite the pandemic, the government of Pakistan kept its focus on social sectors, including health, education and social protection, so that basic necessities are ensured and that the economy regains its strength.
He reiterated his government's commitment to further strengthen implementation of reforms, including reform actions aim to develop key elements of core foundations for Human Capital Accumulation.
The World Bank team reiterated its commitment to continue technical and financial support to the Government of Pakistan for priority.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2021.
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