WASHINGTON, September 15, 2017 — The World Bank today approved a $200 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit to improve learning outcomes for over 1.2 million Kenyan students in public primary and secondary schools.
The Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQIP) is expected to run for a six-year period and will support 7,852 primary and 2,147 secondary schools in 30 counties that are economically and educationally disadvantaged.
The project is an effort to improve access, quality and equity of education as Kenya works towards becoming an upper-middle income economy as outlined in the national development plan Vision 2030. The project will also support the country in addressing the current skills gap between what is provided by educational institutions and market expertise requirements.
“No country has ever achieved developed country status without a highly educated and skilled workforce,” said Diarietou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya. “In investing in our youth right from primary school, by ensuring successful transition into secondary school, and in highlighting science and math; we will be supporting Kenya to build on the current innovation and entrepreneurship gains. Kenyans are creative, innovative and enterprising; and this project will give the youth the boost to further improve their livelihoods and grow the national economy.”
The project focuses on four core areas: a) Improving quality of teaching in targeted counties by addressing the challenges of teachers’ shortage, teachers’ competencies and the availability of core teaching-learning materials; b) Expanding retention in upper primary school and transition to secondary school in targeted areas by ensuring availability of minimum package of safe school infrastructure, and address demand side issues such as poverty and socio-cultural barriers for schooling among vulnerable children, especially girls; c) Supporting the on-going systemic reform related to curricula and students’ assessment that are critical for aligning the education outcomes to the needs of the modern economy; d) Supporting project management, coordination, monitoring and evaluation and training for effective implementation of the project for achievement of the desired results in addition to instituting system capacity to sustain the results over long-term.
Kenya places a large premium on education and has sustained public spending within the sector at 6% of the GDP or a quarter of its total national budget over the past five years. “This project will specifically measure performance indicators for both boys and girls by focusing on science and math test scores as well as transition rates from primary to secondary education,” said Nalin Jena, Task Team Leader for SEQIP.
The program is fully aligned with the World Bank Group’s Kenya Country Partnership Strategy. By targeting the poorest and most vulnerable children, the project supports the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.