WASHINGTON, May 31, 2023 - The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved today financing for the Education Quality Improvement Project (EQIP) in the amount of $40 million, which will help the country to improve the learning environment in participating institutions, with a specific focus on supporting disadvantaged students, while also strengthening the Ministry of Education and Research's capacity for sector management and assistance to refugees enrolled in educational institutions.
The project will also benefit from co-financing grants, including $4.8 million from the Global Partnership for Education Fund, $5 million from the Early Learning Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund, and a non-reimbursable concessional contribution of $10 million from the Global Concessional Financing Facility.
Moldova is currently facing unprecedented challenges due to spillovers from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which have put stress on households, the economy, and financial resources needed for long-term development priorities, including human development. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of resilient and high-quality learning environments, yet Moldova's schools seem to lack the resilience to withstand external shocks. According to estimates, the performance gap between more privileged and disadvantaged students has widened, resulting in significant disparities in reading scores equivalent to over three years of schooling. It is crucial to recover the learning losses caused by the pandemic to prevent the erosion of human capital and long-term harm to the well-being and productivity of Moldovan children in the future. With the highest per capita influx of refugees from Ukraine, the country needs to ensure quality of education to all while enhancing the resilience of the education system.
“The EQIP project will continue the long-standing collaboration of the World Bank Group with the Moldovan authorities on human capital development agenda that we have had over the last decade,” said Inguna Dobraja, World Bank Country Manager for Moldova. “The project is aligned with the Government strategy to support development of human capital, critical for sustained growth and poverty reduction in Moldova. It will also support as a cross-cutting area efforts to embrace systemic changes that promote digitalization practices in education to increase its resilience."
The EQIP project will focus on providing equal educational opportunities for disadvantaged students and thus promoting shared prosperity. This will be achieved through enhanced teacher practices, a learning recovery program for disadvantaged students, an improved learning environment in targeted schools and preschools, and the development of the institutional capacity to design, implement and evaluate education reforms and refugee response interventions. The project will also support tackling the gender gap in STEM education in participating schools.
Since Moldova joined the World Bank in 1992, over $1.3 billion has been allocated to more than 60 operations in the country. Currently, the World Bank portfolio includes 12 active projects with a total commitment of $617 million. Areas of support include regulatory reform and business development, modernization of government services, tax administration, land registration, education, roads, health and social sectors, including the COVID-19 emergency response, agriculture, water and sanitation and energy.