NEW DELHI, May 7, 2010 - A Credit Agreement of US$ 750 million equivalent for the Second Elementary Education Project, was signed today by representatives from the Government of India and the World Bank. The signatories to the Agreement were Dr. Anup K. Pujari, Joint Secretary, on behalf of the Government of India, and Mr. Roberto Zagha, Country Director, World Bank, India.
India has made significant progress in meeting its education goals, especially at the primary level. Through its 86th constitutional amendment in 2002, India mandated elementary education as a fundamental right of every child. The same year, the government also launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a nationwide program aiming to provide quality elementary education to all children. The Bank has supported the SSA with two IDA credits totaling US1.1 billion since 2003.
“SSA - now largest ongoing Education for All (EFA) program in the world - has been remarkably successful, particularly in achieving greater access to elementary education,” said Roberto Zagha, World Bank Country Director for India. “Between 2003 and 2009 the number of children reportedly enrolled in elementary education in India increased by 57 million to 192 million. More than two-thirds of this increase took place in government schools. The number of children out of school declined from 25 million to 8.1 million during that same period, a truly remarkable achievement. Enrollment gains were especially strong among girls and children from socially disadvantaged households, which have improved equity of educational opportunity across the country.”
This additional financing will enable SSA to expand activities related to increased access at upper primary level (grades 5-8), increase elementary level completion rates, and improve learning outcomes for the full elementary cycle (grades 1-8). The program is expanding its efforts to enable the hardest-to-reach children to attend school. These include provision of teachers and the establishment, construction and extension of primary and upper primary schools and classrooms in districts where access is still an issue.
“We expect that these activities will lead to a greater percentage of children attending and completing elementary education,” said Sam Carlson, World Bank Lead Education Specialist and project team leader for SSA. “But the real focus of this additional financing is on improving quality. More than 50 percent of SSA resources will be allocated over the next three years for activities to improve student learning, such as teacher training, remedial education, provision of free textbooks and other learning materials to enable more activity-based learning.”
The credit is provided by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm and has 35 years to maturity and a 10-year grace period.