KATHMANDU: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a concessional loan worth USD 200 million to help Nepal strengthen the equity, quality, and resilience of its school education.
The Manila-based multilateral development agency stated that the program will assist the implementation of the first 5 years of the government’s School Education Sector Plan 2021–2030 in a sector-wide approach supported by eight development partners, including ADB. The program will enhance learning provisions for basic and secondary schools; strengthen teaching and learning in schools accelerate the recovery from learning losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; and improve the capacity of local governments in education planning, monitoring, and reporting.
“Nepal has done significantly well in terms of improving access to education, however, there is still a need to address remaining equity issues to access and importantly to take a holistic approach to address the persistent challenge in improving learning outcomes,” said ADB Principal Social Sector Specialist for South Asia Rudi Van Dael. “This program will help accelerate reforms and transform the country’s education system to develop human capital, reduce social inequity, and attain sustainable growth.”
Selected secondary schools will be upgraded to increase opportunities to study science education in grades 11–12, especially for girls. The pro-poor scholarship scheme will be expanded from grades 9–12 to grades 6–12 to improve retention. To mitigate learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic, a recovery and accelerated learning program will be jointly implemented with the community and civil society organizations.
“To prepare schools against future learning disruptions, more and better accessible e-resources will be made available through the Sikai Chautari online learning portal. The program will further strengthen the local government’s capacity to deliver education in the federal system” said ADB Senior Project Officer (Education) for South Asia Smita Gyawali.
ADB will provide an additional USD 1 million worth of technical assistance grants from its Technical Assistance Special Fund and administer the equivalent of USD 600,000. The grant from the Government of Norway to support capacity-building activities, strengthen program management and coordination, and improve the monitoring and reporting capability of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology.