Washington D.C., June 29, 2020 — The World Bank approved today a US$100 million project to support the Government of Jordan’s efforts in addressing education challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and expanding access to pre-primary education and reform student assessment, including transitioning to a competency-based digital tawjihi.
The new project represents an additional financing to the Education Reform Support Program (US$200 million), approved back in December 2017, which aimed to expand access to early childhood education and improve student assessment, teaching and learning conditions for Jordanian children and Syrian refugee children.
"The World Bank is committed to support Jordan face the multi-faceted impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, including a potential loss for today’s students of 0.6 years of schooling adjusted for quality," said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director. "The World Bank has already mobilized technical and financial resources to help Jordan strengthen its health sector response and provide emergency cash transfers to poor households who have lost their source of income. This additional financing constitutes further investment in human capital to allow Jordan to accelerate learning by building a more equitable and resilient post-COVID education system."
The additional financing will support the Government of Jordan’s objective to enroll all 5-year-old children in Jordan beginning with academic year 2020-21. The project will also support additional interventions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, to ensure the sustainability of distance learning innovations that were introduced as a response to school closures and to guarantee minimum health and safety standards that would provide for a safe return to school in the next academic year.
“Jordan historically has made great progress in increasing access to education and gender parity, and over the past few years the Government has been focusing on improving education quality and further expanding education infrastructure to accommodate for the increased number of students due to the Syrian refugee crisis, and as part of its commitment to leaving no one behind,” said Dr. Wissam Rabadi, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation. “At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Jordan intensified its efforts to strengthen distance learning and create a healthy and safe environment for students, while continuing to implement reforms to improve education quality and accessibility in the long-term. This additional financing comes at the right time to support the Government efforts in response to COVID-19 and beyond.”
With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting lockdown and school closure, the Ministry of Education responded swiftly by switching to distance education in the short term and planning for the medium term, as described in the Ministry’s Education During Emergency Plan 2020/22 (EDEP). The EDEP is fully aligned with the international direction on preparing for and sustaining safe school reopening.
“The additional financing also builds on the results achieved to-date under the parent Program, designed to support the Ministry’s overarching Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022 in coordination with several other development partners,” said Dina Abu-Ghaida, World Bank Lead Economist and Team Leader. “Results include support to improving teaching quality and the management of the education system in Jordan.”
The US$100 million additional financing is co-financed by a US$18.6 million contribution from the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF). Launched in 2016, the GCFF provides concessional financing to middle income countries hosting large numbers of refugees at rates usually reserved for the poorest countries. This additional financing brings the World Bank Group’s total commitments to Jordan to US$3.7 billion.
World Bank Group COVID-19 Response
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are increasing disease surveillance, improving public health interventions, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. Over the next 15 months, we will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, including $50 billion of new IDA resources in grants or highly concessional terms.