KATHMANDU, Sept 5: The government has signed a financing agreement with the World Bank today for an additional grant of US$10.85 million to the School Sector Development Program (SSDP) to maintain access to basic education and continued learning for children amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Issuing a statement on Friday, the World Bank said that the additional grant will contribute to the implementation of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology’s COVID-19 contingency plan to mitigate and respond to the potential impacts of the pandemic on the education sector.
SSDP is a sector-wide program supported by the World Bank’s IDA credit of US$185 million, together with support from Asian Development Bank, European Union, Finland, Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Japan International Cooperation Agency, Norway, USAID, UNICEF and REACH Multi-Donor Trust Fund administered by the World Bank. The program aims to improve the quality, equitable access, and efficiency of basic and secondary education in Nepal, according to the World Bank.
Shreekrishna Nepal, a joint secretary at the Ministry of Finance, and the World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos, signed the agreement. “The grant provides much needed support to the government to respond to the impacts of the pandemic to enable continuity of learning during school closures, enable schools to safely resume and mitigate the impacts on students and teachers, including loss of learning time and psychosocial impacts,” the statement quoted Joint Secretary Nepal as saying.
According to the statement, the additional grant will finance activities to support remote learning programs through television, radio and the learning portal as well as printed learning packs for children who do not have access to media or internet.
The grant will support communication campaigns and teacher professional development programs and help strengthen the Education Management Information Systems as well as support provincial and local governments to support safe reopening of schools and continued learning of children, the statement read.
“The education sector in Nepal and across the world has been one of the hardest hit owing to the pandemic which has deeply affected learning outcomes for children”, the statement quoted Hadad-Zervos, as saying. “While supporting the immediate needs for safeguarding access and learning for children, especially girls, the additional grant will support the broader resilient recovery efforts of the government and help build back better the education sector in Nepal.”