World Bank Approves $400 Million for Supporting Education in Sindh

March 14, 2013

Washington, March 14, 2013-The World Bank today approved a package of assistance worth $400 million to support the Second Sindh Education Sector Reform Program (SERP II). The program will support the Sindh government’s efforts to increase school participation and measure student achievement by improving sector governance and accountability and strengthening administrative systems.

“Improving school participation is a priority in Sindh as the government has underlined this further by passing Sindh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, Country Director for the World Bank Pakistan. “The World Bank is committed to take the next evolutionary step and zero in on improving service delivery performance at the school level and thereby, increase child school participation through this program.”

School participation in Sindh has shown a very slow improvement over the past few years and with huge disparities across districts, especially for girls in rural areas. An important factor behind the low education outcomes in the province is poor management and minimal monitoring and accountability of the government school system. The situation has been compounded by three years of continuous flood damage to school infrastructure and disruption in service delivery in many districts across Sindh.

Realizing these facts, the Sindh government has focused the second generation of reforms on introducing key governance and accountability measures to improve education outcomes in Sindh. These include a continued emphasis on merit and need-based teacher recruitment, professionalizing the education management cadre, public private partnerships in remote rural areas, and measuring and reporting on student achievements in the primary and middle grades.

“We anticipate that SERP II will contribute to substantial improvements in education sector service delivery and management over the next three years, by directly focusing improvement efforts on students, teachers and education managers” said Umbreen Arif, task team leader of the project. “We look forward to lending our technical and financial cooperation to the government of Sindh in its promising and ambitious endeavor to reach national and global education targets of Education for All.”

The SERP II will provide financial, technical, and advisory support through a results-based specific investment credit with the majority of disbursements contingent on the satisfactory achievement of pre-specified program implementation progress and performance targets in ten initiatives that aim to address gaps in and/or current poor practices in education sector management and governance.

The credit is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), and will be on standard IDA blend terms, with a maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years.

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