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World Bank Supports Improvement of Quality and Access to Early Childhood Education and Care Services in Kosovo

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2024—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today the Early Childhood Education and Care for Kosovo's Human Capital Project, which aims to improve the quality and equitable access to early childhood education and care services in Kosovo.

Kosovo has the lowest Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) enrollment in the Western Balkans, with more barriers for children from low-income families. Only 19.5 percent of children aged 0-6 were enrolled in all early childhood education and care services during 2021/2022. Insufficient number and inadequate distribution of early childhood education and care centers affect access to services. This contributes to low levels of foundational literacy and numeracy skills, which can trigger a life-long struggle to catch up and access productive career opportunities. Also, the poor access to child and eldercare contributes to exceptionally low employment and workforce participation of women in Kosovo.

In prioritizing early childhood education and care, Kosovo is demonstrating a commitment to enhancing educational outcomes of small boys and girls and nurturing the country's human capital to effectively address the challenges of the future economy”, said Massimiliano Paolucci, World Bank Country Manager for Kosovo, and North Macedonia. “The World Bank will continue to support Kosovo in strengthening its Human Capital, enhancing social inclusion, and fostering economic growth.”

The project will support activities which aim to improve the quality of ECEC services through improvements to the regulatory framework, institutional capacity building, and training of teachers and healthcare professionals. It also aims to enhance child development outcomes by fostering collaboration across diverse sectors. The project will also improve access to ECEC services through the creation of additional spaces, provision of essential equipment, and facilitation of teaching and learning materials. Furthermore, a voucher program will be implemented to safeguard access for vulnerable children and families. The project is expected to reach 3,800 children, 1,500 ECEC teachers and education professionals, and 1,500 healthcare professionals who would benefit from training, renovations, repurposing, adaptation, and construction of new facilities, a voucher program, and training opportunities. Expanded provision of childcare is also expected to increase the participation of women in the workforce.

The approved financial support for this project is EUR 18.6 million (US$20 million equivalent), a concessional credit from World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA). The credit repayment period for this operation is 25 years, which includes a 5-year grace period. The project will also be financed with an additional US$2 million grant from the Early Learning Partnership Trust Fund. It pioneers the introduction of performance-based financing to optimize the impact of social programs in the country. The Government of Kosovo and the World Bank will sign a project financing agreement, which needs to be ratified by the Parliament of Kosovo for the project funds to become available for disbursement for the benefit of the citizens of Kosovo. The Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovations of Kosovo will be responsible for project implementation.



Lundrim Aliu


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