The World Bank today approved financing that, along with a grant from the Global Partnership for Education, will provide US$69.25 million in new funding to help Cambodia improve equitable access to basic education and respond rapidly to crises affecting the education system.

The World Bank will provide a US$60 million credit through its International Development Association while the Global Partnership for Education will deliver a grant of US$9.25 million.

The funding will support the five-year General Education Improvement Project (GEIP), which aims to support Cambodia in achieving the vision outlined in its Education Strategic Plan (ESP 2019-2023), which seeks to “establish and develop human resources that are of the very highest quality and are ethically sound in order to develop a knowledge-based society.”

To realise this objective, the government of Cambodia has expressed a commitment to address two main challenges: low student learning outcomes and inequitable access to quality basic education, which includes early childhood, primary, and secondary education.

Cambodia has certainly made great achievements in expanding access to education, but equitable access to education for certain groups of children, such as those living in remote areas, coming from poor families or ethnic minority communities, and those living with disabilities, remains an issue, said World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia Maryam Salim.

Further, student learning outcomes have been greatly affected by the prolonged school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she said in the statement issued on Jan 19.

“We strongly hope that the project will address these challenges and build back better,” she said.

The funding comes at a crucial time, with the new COVID-19 variant worsening the pandemic’s impact on education systems around the world, said Global Partnership for Education CEO Alice P. Albright.

“We hope these funds will allow Cambodia to continue increasing access to quality education and ensure that the most vulnerable children are in school and learning,” he said.

The project’s key activities will include implementing a school-based management programme, chunk providing capacity development to teachers, school leaders, teacher trainers, and educational staff, and improving learning environments.

The project calls for construction and rehabilitation of school buildings, science laboratories, teacher training institutions, dormitories for teachers, and special education schools; purchase of education technology equipment; and support for students with disabilities, including disability screening.

The project will also include a pilot education technology (EdTech) programme for mathematics.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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