WASHINGTON, November 2, 2015 - The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved today two grants amounting to US$8 million to improve basic services and quality of education. The World Bank’s long term engagement in these sectors is vital to the state building process and the cohesion of Palestinian society despite the fragile socio-political context.
The World Bank’s support to the Palestinian local governments assist them in providing services to the population more effectively. One of the grants if for US$5 million and is backed with US$13 million in co-financing from the Palestinian Partnership for Infrastructure Development Multi-Donor Trust Fund.
For the first time in Palestine, the Program will apply a new financing instrument which links disbursements to specific and agreed achievements to strengthen the local government financing system and improve local service delivery in targeted villages. The program relies on Palestinian government systems and processes to disburse funds. A systematic and transparent funding mechanism will be developed with emphasis on building the capacity of the local institutions.
“The critical reforms in local government units will improve service delivery and respond to citizens’ demands. The financing instrument that will be used is a recognition of the readiness of Palestinian institutions for full statehood”, said Steen Lau Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.
The second grant is for US$3 million to the Teacher Education Improvement Project to build the competencies of primary school teachers (Grades 1 to 4), and strengthen the foundational skills in the classrooms of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Over the last 5 years, the project has focused on improving the competencies and skills of teachers in the West Bank and Gaza schools on two fronts: primary education degree programs for new teachers were redesigned to focus on adequate practicum training, thus moving from mere observation of class management in schools to experience full class responsibilities; in addition, under-qualified teachers have been trained to upgrade their teaching skills in all the key curriculum areas, thus bringing their qualifications to an equivalent of a professional certification.
“Good teachers with on the job training have a direct impact on the learning and success of students. Recognizing that need and translating it into active strategy is investing in the future of Palestinian children and their resilience to challenges – such investment pays off for years to come,” said Jorgensen. Building on the success that has been achieved so far, the additional grant will expand coverage to other primary school teachers and involve more Palestinian Universities.