ADB approves $120m loan to improve education standard

Kathmandu, November 2

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved loan worth $120 million and grant of $500,000 to help improve access and quality of secondary education in Nepal.

Issuing a statement today, the Manila-based multilateral donor agency has said the loan is part of a multi-donor programme to provide $6.5 billion to the School Sector Development Plan, the government’s main education initiative for 2017 to 2023, that includes setting up of 200 model schools with disaster risk resilient infrastructure, improved education facilities, a full complement of teachers and quality improvements to enhance student learning.

“Continued investment in education, particularly secondary education, is critical for Nepal to achieve its goal of becoming an inclusive and prosperous middle-income country by 2030,” the statement quotes Sungsup Ra, director, Human and Social Development Division in ADB’s South Asia Regional Department, as saying. “The project will support government efforts to increase the number of secondary school graduates, who will earn higher wages than non-graduates, and boost the efficiency of country’s education system.”

Although enrolment in basic education is high, few students, especially among marginalised groups such as Dalits and poor girls, progress to secondary education in the country. The quality of learning is hampered by a lack of teachers and scarce opportunities for teachers’ professional development. Average achievement scores are particularly low in key subjects like math and science, and only 47 per cent of students passed the grade 10 examinations in 2015, read the statement.

As part of the School Sector Development Plan, the ADB loan will boost quality education by, for example, introducing and expanding ICT in classrooms, boosting teachers’ professional development, and promoting activity-based pedagogy for math, science, and English. The model schools, meanwhile, will have a separate head teacher, a full complement of subject teachers, disaster risk-resilient infrastructure, water and sanitation facilities, a library, a science laboratory, ICT facilities, internet connectivity, and e-resources.

The $6.5 billion programme will benefit 6.3 million students, 153,200 teachers, and over 34,000 schools. It is envisaged that 4,500 schools will receive separate individual subject teachers for math, science, and English by 2021. Professional development courses will be provided to 13,500 teachers and activity-based math, science and English kits for grades six to eight will be made available in 3,000 schools. Model school programme will be rolled out in 200 community schools, benefiting 40,000 students with training for 2,000 teachers in new ICT and e-learning resources.

The programme will be carried out over the next five years under ADB’s results-based lending modality, which will disburse funds based on the achievement of yearly results or performance targets, as per ADB.