$130m WB project to help boost early education in Sindh launched

The World Bank on Wednesday signed an agreement to extend $130 million financial support to help improve the early education system in Sindh.

$130m WB project to help boost early education in Sindh launched

Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan witnessed the signing of the agreement of the Sindh Early Learning Enhancement (SELE) through the Classroom Transformation Project worth $129.99m.

The agreement was signed by Economic Affairs Division additional secretary Zulfiqar Haider on behalf of the government while WB was represented by its country director Najy Benhassine. Chief Economist Dr Naeem Zafar attended the ceremony on behalf of the Sindh government.

The project financing includes concessional loan of $100m by World Bank and Education Sector Plan Implementation Grant of $29.99m by Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Besides this, an additional GPE Multiplier Grant of $24.78m would shortly be made available to enhance geographical coverage of the project.

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.

SELE through Classroom Transformation Project aims to improve five core elements of learning ie 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 dropouts, improved teacher capacity, and infrastructure catering to safety and learning needs, also 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 behavioural 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. The WB team reiterated its commitment to continue technical and financial support to the government of Pakistan for priority areas.

Mr Khan thanked the World Bank management for extending their continuous support to the government, particularly at this difficult time when the country was facing increasing health-related and socioeconomic challenges.

The provision of quality education was one of the top priorities of the government because it played an essential role in the socioeconomic development and prosperity of a nation, the minister said. The financing, he added , would ensure equal opportunities in the education, for both girls and boys.

He highlighted that even at the time of prevailing difficult situation, the government was keeping its focus on social sector including health, education and social protection so that the people get basic necessities of life and economy regains its strength. He reiterated his government’s commitment to further strengthen implementation of reforms, including reform actions aimed to develop key elements of core foundations for Human Capital Accumulation.

Originally published at Dawn