WASHINGTON DC, December 18, 2008 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a US$50 million equivalent Credit to the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) to help finance a General Education Quality Improvement Program (GEQIP). The credit is the first part of a two-phase Adaptable Program Loan), and will leverage an estimated collective investment of US$417million in additional resources from the Government and other development partners Around 15.9 million students in primary and secondary schools will benefit from the Program, together with about 225,000 teachers.
The Government’s current vision for education development gives high priority to improving quality at all levels. To this end, over the past seven years, there has been significant investment and subsequent expansion in the sector. Between 2000 and 2007 the gross enrollment rate in primary education increased from 62 percent to 91 percent and net enrollment increased from 52 percent to 78 percent, a notable accomplishment, which has occurred at the same time as a major expansion of the higher education sub-sector. At the higher education level, the average annual growth rate was 28.5 percent since 2002, increasing enrollment from about 58,000 in 2002 to 203,000 in 2007.
Despite these accomplishments, Ethiopia’s education sector faces a number of key challenges, including: (i) inequitable access to education opportunities for females and other vulnerable groups, especially in remote areas; (ii) a disconnect between achievements in access and improvements in quality; (iii) a considerable financing gap between available funds and the anticipated cost of investments needed to maintain and improve quality; and (iv) weak capacity to plan, manage and monitor. The GEQIP seeks to address some of these challenges by improving the quality of general education (Grades 1-12) throughout the country.
“Ethiopia has made significant progress in expanding access to education and other basic services in recent year. It is now time for GoE to focus on improving the quality of these services” said Kenichi Ohashi, Country Director for Ethiopia and Sudan.
The Program will support, among other things, improvements in (a) teaching and learning conditions in primary and secondary institutions and (b) management planning and budget capacity of the Ministry of Education and Regional Education Bureaus. Specific activities include a Teacher Development Program; curriculum, textbooks and assessment; education management information systems; and a school improvement program. “This is an exciting opportunity for Ethiopia to design and implement its own initiated and holistic program to improve general education across the country. The use of a pooled funding mechanism will also increase donor harmonization and mobilize resources more effectively to assist the Government’s efforts. By the end of the Program, the children of Ethiopia will have access to improved quality education and the sectors’ capacity for planning and management will be enhanced. In addition, there will be improvements in stakeholder accountability. ” said Halil Dundar, the Project’s Task Team Leader.
The Bank’s contribution to the program totaling $130 million will be supplemented with additional funding from an innovative pooled funding mechanism, composed of IDA Credits; a Fast Track Initiative Catalytic Fund (FTI CF) Grant; an IDA-administered Multi-Donor Trust Fund (which includes contributions from the Netherlands, DFID, Italy, Sweden and Finland), and direct government contributions.
The program will be implemented by the Ministry of Education together with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Regional Education Bureaus, and the participating universities and teacher training institutions across the country.
The credit is provided on standard International Development Association (IDA) terms, with a commitment charge of 0.10 percent per annum and a service charge of 0.75 percent per annum (on the disbursed credit balance) over a 40 year period of maturity which includes a 10-year grace period.