WASHINGTON, March 18, 2021 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $46.9 million project to improve primary education performance in target districts of Lao PDR. Of the total funding, US$30 million comes from the World Bank’s International Development Association, with the remainder coming in the form of a grant from the Global Partnership for Education.
The Global Partnership for Education III: Learning and Equity Acceleration Project will improve learning through three main activities. Pre-school classes will allow children to enter school ready to learn thanks to community child development groups, a reading readiness program, and screening to help provide extra resources to children with disabilities. Targeted training will prepare and motivate teachers, while school-based management systems will improve the environment for teaching and learning.
While some activities will be nationwide, others will be focused on specific districts. The project incorporates features to help make up for learning time lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This project will help enhance human capital in Lao PDR, and thus contribute to long-term national development,” said World Bank Lao PDR Country Manager Nicola Pontara. “It is designed to respond to challenges created by COVID-19, while addressing the need to help a young population eventually participate productively in the country’s economy.”
Lao PDR is undergoing a demographic transition, with one in two people below the age of 23.5. While national enrollment rates are high, learning levels are currently low, so a strong focus on learning in early grades will build capital for the future.
The Lao government’s Ministry of Education and Sports will implement the project, which complements other partnerships between Lao PDR and the World Bank on early learning. It also supports the government’s ninth National Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2021-25 and its Education and Sports Sector Development Plan.