WASHINGTON D.C., April 2, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$14 million grant and a US$14 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Early Childhood Education Project. The project aims to increase coverage and improve the quality of early childhood education services for children from 3 to 5 years old in educationally disadvantaged districts.
This newly approved financing will build upon the results achieved under the Second Education Development Project, the Global Partnership for Education (formerly EFA-FTI) Program, and the Community Nutrition Project.
The Early Childhood Education project is in line with the Government’s 7th National Social and Economic Development Plan, which outlined education, including early childhood, as a key priority to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The Government has set forth a clear medium-term goal in the Education Sector Development Plan, which aims to create affordable and expanded access to early childhood education, especially in poorer and educationally disadvantaged areas. The Ministry of Education and Sports will be the main implementation agency of this project.
The project will increase coverage of early childhood education services by providing construction grants for pre-primary classrooms and establishing Community Child Development Groups for 3 and 4 year olds. The project will also provide a package of supporting services to communities, including an awareness campaign about the importance of early stimulation, health and disability screening and support to the national school meals program. Lastly, this package of services will be accompanied by technical assistance, as well as training for teachers and education officers.
The Early Childhood Education project is an important part of the Lao PDR Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), endorsed by the World Bank Board in March 2012, which aims to improve public sector management, competitiveness and connectivity, sustainable natural resource management, and inclusive development by supporting policies and institutional reforms.