After the earthquake, there was a high risk that schools in affected areas would close because of damage to the buildings and because families would not be able to pay tuition. Without compensation, teachers would be likely to leave the schools and pursue other occupations. Not only would students lose the remainder of the current 2009/2010 academic year, but persuading teachers to return to the schools after leaving would be a serious challenge. In an environment where qualified teachers were already in short supply, subsequent school years would also be in jeopardy. With a high poverty rate (78 percent) and many students undernourished, there was also an urgent need to ensure adequate nutrition of primary school students.
The government, with the support of the Bank, helped design a quick disbursement component to get urgently needed funding to schools through teacher compensation. Through this strategy, teachers were paid, keeping them in the schools and ensuring that the schools stayed open and had funding for other essential activities. In the following school year, when the emergency had ended, the Project re-focused on payment of tuition for poor students (Tuition Waiver Program-TWP) and the school feeding program (morning snack and lunch). The Bank was already financing two other government projects that had successfully funded tuition so the government and the Bank were familiar with implementation and had determined that these interventions were a good value for money. The Project approach also recognized the need to restore human and technical capacity to the destroyed MoE and provided resources for the MoE to monitor the implementation of the teacher compensation, tuition and school nutrition components.
The Project provided critical funding to:
- Pay teacher’s salaries and other expenses in 2,824 schools (equivalent to funding another 78,444 students for one year) to keep schools operating during the 2010-2011 school year.
- Provide school nutrition to 62,000 children (2011-2012 school year).
- Pay tuition for 93,624 children (for school years 2011-2012 and 2014-2015).
Without this funding, schools would not have been able to hold classes for the vast majority of these students. In addition to access and equity benefits, the Project also produced some quality and governance benefits. Quality benefits were realized in the form of a 10 percent reduction in grade repetition (grades 1-6) and a 9 percent reduction in the incidence of overage students (grades 1-4). Governance benefits were realized as a result of Project funding to bolster monitoring capabilities of the MoE. Eight of nine directors of Regional Education Departments reported that without the transportation and computers provided by the Project, they could not have carried out their core implementing and monitoring responsibilities.
Moreover, almost all of the Project’s resources went to final beneficiaries (students, teachers and schools). The economic analysis of the Project estimated an 11.8 percent internal rate of return based on the wage value of an additional year of school. The net present value at 8 percent was US$16.6 million supporting substantial the Project’s value for money.