World Bank Approves US$5 million to Improve Youth and Adults' Access to Education in Timor-Leste

December 9, 2010

WASHINGTON D.C., December 9, 2010—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$5 million grant to assist Timor-Leste’s youth and adults in gaining access to education. The Second Chance Education Project will support the Ministry of Education’s Directorate of Adult and Non-Formal Education to expand and improve its services, including through its primary and pre-secondary education equivalency programs.

Enrolment in basic education has expanded rapidly in Timor –Leste, but continued high dropout rates have led to a large number of Timorese lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills. Less than two out of five children who enter first grade in Timor-Leste currently reach the last grade of primary school. This project will support the Government’s basic education equivalency programs for out-of-school youth and adults in order to build their basic skills, allow them to reintegrate the formal secondary education system and improve their chances of entering the workforce.

“Young people in Timor-Leste face significant challenges in terms of low levels of education and high unemployment, which the Government of Timor-Leste and the World Bank are committed to addressing,” said Ferid Belhaj, Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea & Pacific Islands at the World Bank. “Education is key to improving human development conditions in the country. Significant progress has been made in Timor-Leste’s education sector since 2002, but further improvements are needed. Ensuring that all citizens have access to education services and the opportunity to build their skills is vital to the growth of the country.”

The Second Chance Education Project will strengthen the overall learning system in the country by engaging with a wide cross-section of the population and using a flexible and open curriculum. The project will also extend possibilities for Timorese to continue higher level education, and it will support the Government’s priority of achieving universal completion of basic education by 2025.

Financing for the project is through a grant from the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.

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