WASHINGTON, December 19, 2017 — The World Bank today approved an International Development Association (IDA)* grant of $300 million to the Government of Ethiopia in support of its continued efforts to improve the provision of quality education nationwide.
Over the past decade, with support from the World Bank-funded General Education Quality Improvement Program (GEQIP), Ethiopia has made positive strides in the education sector, and has significantly improved the quality of teaching and learning conditions in 40,000 primary and secondary schools across the country. GEQIP I and II provided nearly 250 million textbooks/teaching materials to schools, improved teacher quality by upgrading the qualifications of 300,000 teachers, provided resources for school level expenditure on quality improvements, and improved accountability through a sound inspection system. This has contributed to substantially increasing the number of students enrolled in schools.
“The progress Ethiopia has made in the education sector is commendable. Unlike most other countries, Ethiopia has been able to avoid the deterioration in quality of education that often accompanies a rapid expansion of access. However, more work is needed to further scale up the modest improvement in learning outcomes at the primary level. For instance, only 33% of students in Grade 2 can read at the required fluency level in mother tongue,” said Hiroshi Saeki, World Bank Team Leader for the project.
Ethiopia’s education sector continues to face a number of key challenges, including inequitable access to education opportunities for females and other vulnerable groups, especially in remote areas. Furthermore, Ethiopia’s investment in teachers’ training has not fully translated to improvements in their quality and effectiveness.
To address some of these challenges, the new General Education Quality Improvement Program for Equity (GEQIP-E) will continue supporting the quality, internal efficiency, equity, and capacity development in primary and secondary education. Specifically, GEQIP-E will build on the results achieved under the first two phases of the project by creating the incentives for aligning inputs to improve student learning. GEQIP-E thus shifts the focus to attainment of results, by improving teaching practices in the classroom, enhancing the use of textbooks, and ensuring that school grants are effectively used to implement results based school improvement plans.
GEQIP-E will develop and implement a school-based professional development program that will provide continuous support to existing teachers to improve teaching quality. GEQIP-E will also focus on addressing the high primary school dropout rates, as well as the low and stagnating secondary school enrollment rates.
GEQIP-E will put special emphasis on equity and addressing the needs of female students, pastoralists, and those with special needs or disabilities by providing them with specialized support, particularly in the emerging regions of the country. Among other things, GEQIP-E will empower girls, reduce violence against them in schools and provide them with life skills. Similarly, it will address the unique needs of pastoralist communities with additional resources and customized approaches. The project will promote the inclusion of children with special needs in education by providing supplementary school grants to transform 687 schools to inclusive education resource centers.
“This project will help address many of the bottlenecks that are holding girls and students with special needs from getting equal opportunities to learn and prosper. By 2025, in Afar, Somali and Benishangul-Gumuz, we hope to increase the gross enrollment rate of girls in primary schools by 21%, and increase the number of students with special needs in schools by eight folds from 3,000 to 24,000,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.
GEQIP-E will be implemented in all public primary (including 0-class) and secondary schools in Ethiopia. In total, 27 million students and 520,000 teachers in 35,000 public schools are expected to benefit from the project. The program will be implemented by the Ministry of Education together with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, the Regional Education Bureaus, and the participating universities and teacher training institutions across the country.
The $300 million IDA investment in GEQIP-E is expected to leverage additional funding of around $140 million from development partners, including DFID, Finland, and UNICEF through the Multi Donor Trust Fund managed by the World Bank.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.