EDUCATION, Science and Technology Minister, Prof Joyce Ndalichako has commended the World Bank (WB) for approving 500 million US Dollars (about 1.15tr/-) as a loan to improve Secondary Schools’ education, quality and infrastructures in the country.
Speaking here on Thursday, Prof Ndalichako said the support in the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQUIP) will be channeled to improve education quality and infrastructure, where about 6.5 million students in the institutions will directly benefit in the next five years.
Moreover, she said, it will also strengthen the government-run schools and establish stronger educational pathways for students, who thereafter leave the formal school system.
The loan, the minister added, would complement the government’s efforts to improve education quality in the country after the government reinforced fee-free education policy right from Primary to High Schools, which has led to high enrolment in the institutions.
For instance, primary schools have seen a great increase from 8.3 million pupils to 10.1 million, and for secondary schools the enrolment has reached 4.4 million students.
“The project will benefit boys and girls, with special focus on expanding access to their education especially the most vulnerable children,” said Prof Ndalichako.
Highlighting the importance of the project, the Minister noted that it will help to meet the urgent needs of children, and realise the government’s commitments in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She said it will provide an opportunity for the State to focus on quality after a survey unearthed by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and some stakeholders proposed priorities to start with.
Equally, it will address challenges in the sector by ensuring that students stay longer in school with a thorough roll-out gender sensitive safe programme(s).
The list also intends to support students, who drop out to further have access to recognized, quality Alternative Education and as well as increase their numbers.
It will also involve construction of new schools close to communities and ensure that they are equipped with right facilities, staff, textbooks and other learning materials.
According to the Minister, the scheme will also support innovative digital technology learning in core subjects and prepare students for further education armed with skills necessary for development.
Prof Ndalichako further said that the fund would support building 26 boarding schools for girls with a capacity to accommodate 39,000 student and some 1,000 day scholars.