WASHINGTON, March 6, 2014 –The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved support to The Gambia to increase access to basic education, improve the quality of teaching and learning for primary school students, and support critical behavior changes to reinforce governance of the education system. By focusing on education, today’s funds will help some 290,000 children gain the knowledge and skills they need to move out of poverty and to live healthy, productive lives.
The new IDA* grant of US$ 11.9 million will support a Results for Education Achievement and Development Project (READ) in The Gambia. The financial support is composed by two grants, from IDA (US$11.9 million), and from the recently approved Global Partnership for Education (US$6.9 million). The project is a joint partnership with the Government of The Gambia who contributes to the project in the amount of US$16 million over four years.
According to Vera Songwe, World Bank Country Director for the Gambia, the objective of this project is to help this West African country “increase access to basic education especially for underserved populations, improve quality of teaching and learning in lower basic schools, and strengthen education systems using a results based approach”
Although enrollment has significantly improved over the last decade, the number of out of school children has not been reduced due to the rapid population growth in the country, she added.
“The READ project is aligned with the twin goals of the World Bank’s strategy -poverty reduction and shared prosperity because education builds human capital, which directly contributes to the productivity and earnings of the population - including and especially the poorest”, said Vera Songwe.
The project beneficiaries include Early Childhood Development (ECD) children, lower and upper basic and secondary students, lower basic and upper basic teachers, and student teachers.
The READ project also has a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) dimension that will provide broadband and curriculum- linked dynamic e-content to public schools.
“Today’s project will bring reading and math skills to the country’s most vulnerable children and help prepare pre-school children for basic education,” said Nathalie Lahire, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “These steps will help lay the foundation for success for each child as they strive to improve the quality of their own lives and those of their families and communities.”