Ankara, June 25, 2020 –The World Bank approved today a Euro 143.8 million (US Dollar 160 million equivalent) Safe Schooling And Distance Education Project loan to the Republic of Turkey to enhance the capacity of the education system to provide e-learning equitably to school-age children during and following the COVID-19 pandemic and future shocks.
“The COVID-19 emergency has proven that online schooling is no longer an alternative but a necessity. We are very happy to support Turkey at this time to improve the reach and resilience of the digital education system,” says Auguste Tano Kouame, World Bank Country Director for Turkey. “The project also intends to accommodate the needs of vulnerable students, such as children and youth from remote areas, low socio-economic backgrounds, disabled, refugee or other non-native Turkish speakers”.
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and consists of three components:
- Emergency Connectivity and IT Infrastructure for Education in Emergencies. This component finances the expansion of the country’s e-learning platform - Digital Education Platform (EBA) - as part of MoNE’s response to COVID-19. The component also supports the development and roll out of a New Digital Education System (NDES) for the future.
- Digital Content for Safety and Quality. This component will finance goods, services, consultants, training and small refurbishments to support the distance education content, during the period of school closures due to COVID-19, for a gradual return to classroom-based teaching, and to strengthen blended teaching and learning (classroom-based and on-line).
- Institutional Capacity for Education Technology Resilience. This component will strengthen MoNE’s capacity for the coordination, management, monitoring and evaluation of the Project and for the continued delivery of safe and equitable digital education services.
The project includes equity interventions for students most vulnerable to learning loss due to COVID-19 school closures. Activities to address gender-based distance education needs and risk mitigation are included, and its monitoring indicators are disaggregated by gender. In addition, it will increase the weekly use of the online distance education platform to almost 12 million K-12 students and provide certified on-line training to more than 900,000 teachers.
By the end of the project, 5,000,000 students will be able to concurrently use the IT education platform, including through 100,000 on-line classrooms. The EdTech Innovation Hub, to be established, will support the development, testing and roll out of more than 30,000 new digital educational materials and pedagogical tools for K-12, special education and blended learning.
“The project supports the COVID-19 emergency response and return-to school activities, while setting the IT, educational and institutional foundations to support longer-term blended (classroom-on-line) education needs and roll out a stronger educational digital system to support education delivery in the face of any future shocks,” said Joel Reyes, the Task Leader of the project. “Lastly, strengthening Turkey’s digital education system can have important environmental and disaster-risk management co-benefits, such as making the platform and its data resistant to extreme climate, power outings, and even reduction in carbon emissions by limiting paper use and travel”.
The project is aligned with World Bank Group (WBG) strategic priorities, particularly the WBG’s mission to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity and is relevant to the WBG’s Turkey Country Partnership Framework (FY18-23) which includes commitments to human capital development through learning and skills acquisition. Within the education policies of the country, it is aligned to Turkey’s Education Vision 2023, MoNE’s Strategy Paper 20119-2023, and the 11th Development Plan.