WASHINGTON, April 6, 2020 — The World Bank Board of Directors today approved a $140 million financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* to improve the quality of teaching and learning in Niger.
The Niger Learning Improvement for Results in Education (LIRE) Project will focus on vulnerable and ‘fragile’ regions of the country and scale up distance learning programs in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, it will: improve teaching practices; enhance learning for all children and tackle the most critical learning gaps particularly for girls; and strengthen the overall management of the education system through improved monitoring of education outcomes.
“The LIRE project seeks to help the government strengthen the quality of education services and consequently boost the country’s human capital, which is fundamental for securing the country’s future,” according to Joelle Dehasse, World Bank Country Manager. “Improving learning outcomes is essential to reduce poverty and income inequality in Niger. In addition, the project will help manage the impact of COVID-19 on the education sector as we are also adapting our engagement in other key sectors to address the socio-economic impact of the global pandemic”.
In Niger, more than one in two children between the age of 7 and 12 are out-of-school and children’s learning is lagging with very few students acquiring basic skills when completing their elementary education. The COVID-19 crisis is adding to the current learning challenges. In response, the project the LIRE project will be scaling-up the use of ICT and digital technologies for teacher training and coaching activities in schools, including supervision and monitoring of teaching. It will also help develop a national online education platform. In addition, it will develop catch-up programs for out-of-school children and school remediation interventions for children at risk of dropping out of school, with a particular focus on keeping girls in school.
“The World Bank-Government of Niger team that designed the project has been very mindful of the immediate needs of vulnerable communities throughout Niger and the critical importance of having sustainable impact,” said Pamela Mulet, World Bank Project Task Team Leader. “The project will also focus on helping the education system absorb and meet the needs of both refugees and their host communities, therefore reducing drivers of fragility in the country.”
The Project is financed by a $120 million grant and a $20 million credit from the from IDA, including resources from the IDA Risk Mitigation Regime and the IDA Sub-Window for Refugees and Host Communities.
* 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 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.