World Bank approves $100 million to help raise Sindh literacy rate
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $100 million in financing to support Pakistan’s efforts to increase literacy and student retention rates in Sindh, a statement issued by the bank said on Friday.
The amount has been approved for the Sindh Early Learning Enhancement through Classroom Transformation (Select) project that is aimed at helping the provincial government enhance investments in basic education in disadvantaged and remote communities, it added.
The project would focus on strengthening reading and comprehension skills of the primary-level students, skills which are foundational to early learning. It would also institute an adaptive education system to better manage school disruptions and mitigate future school dropouts.
This will be achieved using innovations in technology and communications to help the students return to and stay in school when they expect to fully reopen in August this year.
“School closures brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic have disproportionately affected children, especially girls, from the low-income households and hard-to-reach rural areas across the Sindh Province,” World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine said.
“The Select project aims to tackle learning poverty in the province’s most vulnerable communities. It will mainly focus on early learning and ensure a safe learning environment that is equipped for remote learning, so that students can continue education in case of further school closures,” Benhassine added.
The project aims at transforming teaching practices for early learning through professional development programmes.
These programmes offer interactive, distance-learning techniques using audio-visual tools that complement in-class literacy lessons and include new teaching and reading materials geared to foundational learning.
It will also upgrade school infrastructure to ensure safe learning environments, particularly for girls through grade eight, the statement said.
The upgrades will ensure proper ventilation and lighting, drinking water and sanitation facilities, and designs that consider natural hazards in communities at risk.
It also aims at supporting the educators in implementing a new student attendance monitoring system to take proactive measures and to improve retention rates and literacy.
“Select will benefit more than 1.25 million students annually in grades 1 to 8, across 12 districts in Sindh where learning indicators and gender equity are low,” task team leader for the project Shahram Paksima said.
“The project will bolster the education system by training 3,500 teachers, 1,300 subject coordinators, and 600 headmasters who are responsible for resource management. It will also upgrade facilities in more than 500 schools,” Paksima added.
The project is financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s low-interest arm.
An additional $55 million will be in grant financing from the Global Partnership for Education, which aims at accelerating the progress in achieving universal primary education and gender equality.
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