June 9, 2004

World Bank grants credit of US$ 100 Million for Secondary Education Development

The World Bank has approved an International Development Association (IDA) financing of US$ 150 million consisting of a grant of US$ 26.4 million and a credit of US$ 123.6 million in support of a program to promote secondary education. "The project will promote policy reforms to improve access and equity in secondary education, notably through the provision of grants to schools for recurrent and development expenditures, setting up of a scholarship scheme for qualified but poor students and by attracting and retaining qualified teachers", said Donald B. Hamilton, the World Bank's Task Team Leader for the project. According to him, the program will tackle the three main challenges that currently face secondary education in Tanzania: increasing access, raising quality, and strengthening management.

Tanzania - under President Nyerere well-known for its good education system - has one of the lowest secondary gross enrolment ratios anywhere in the world. Only about 9 percent of the relevant age group attends secondary education, compared with an average of nearly 30 percent for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Private secondary education providers enrol about 40 percent of all students but face major constraints to increase their enrolment due to restricted access to investment resources and limited affordability by households. Community schools, in which communities provide buildings while the government finances teachers and some operational costs, have provided partial relief to the problem.

The Secondary Education Development Program (SEDP) should also provide grants for recurrent and development expenditures to both government, community and non-government institutions, improve learning outcomes of students, ensure more intensive usage of teaching resources and enable a more effective management of secondary education by the public administration. The number of subjects in the curriculum should be reduced, its content updated and improved; textbook quality shall be improved and prices reduced; and SEDP shall introduce a continuous in-service training for teachers.

A final component of the project will focus on reforming secondary education service management and delivery by devolving major administrative and management functions, including student admission and placement, teacher recruitment and deployment, to lower levels of the system both public and private. The IDA credit of US$ 123.6 million, which is part of the US$ 150 million financing, is provided at the standard commitment fee of 0.5 percent, a service charge of 0.75 percent, and a maturity of 40 years, including a 10-year period of grace. The Government of Tanzania and other development partners will finance the project with an additional US$ 93 million. (World Bank, Washington DC; SADOCC)

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