Kathmandu, June 19 :

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have pledged support for the Education For All (EFA) Pool Fund from the next year. They made this promise during the EFA and Secondary Education Support Programme review mission held here last week.

The recent commitment, by two donors in the core funding group, has relieved the government, which had been worrying how to bridge a shortage of fund the EFA would face at the end of its five-year programme that began in 2004.

The EFA programme, which would cost $814 million, is expected to fall short by $250

million at the end of its first five-year term.

At present, there is a pool fund of $150 million while the government had planned to raise $174 million, including the fund it expected to receive from the European Commission, which later opted out.

An official at the Ministry of Education and Sports, requesting anonymity, said the ADB has expressed commitment to provide $30 million for the remaining term of the Education For All and the purse of the fund to be provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund is yet to be discussed, but it is a huge relief for the government.

Earlier, Danida, Finnida, Norad, Department for International Development (DFID) and World Bank had been providing funds for the EFA.

Mahashram Sharma, deputy director at Department of Education said the newly pledged money would be used for supplementary funding needed to cover the shortage the programme would face by the end of the first five-year programme.

As per the Joint Financing Agreement, the government has to bear 76 per cent of the resource gap while the rest has to be borne by the donor agencies. It is estimated that the donor agencies have to bear around $56 million to bridge the resource gap from donor agencies.

Pool funding is EFA financing mechanism in which the pooling donors have agreed to spend exclusively on 10 Education For All programme heads such as teachers’ salary, per child scholarships, educational development activities and others.

A ministry official said the huge resource gap arises as the calculations were based

on constant price and the teachers’ salary more than doubled last year.