World Bank approves $130 million loan for Tunisia's education sector
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a $130 million loan for the second phase of an ongoing program to promote learning and teaching in Tunisia’s schools, while continuing to ensure the inclusion of children at all levels of the basic education system.
The Education Quality Improvement Program (EQIP) II will specifically seek to boost the enrollment rate for boys and girls in the age groups of 6-18 years, as well as the completion rate of basic education.
A regional leader in social and economic reforms, Tunisia devotes significant resources to basic and secondary education—13 percent of total public expenditure. However, persistent unemployment amongst young secondary education graduates points to a mismatch between the skills acquired at school and those sought by employers. Moreover, women have not been able to benefit from their improved educational status. In 2001, the labor force participation was 25.8 percent for women, compared with 76 percent for men.
The Government of Tunisia responded to these challenges by placing quality improvement at the heart of its education strategy.
The EQIP II will support the government’s Education Action Plan for a better qualified labor force by developing stronger links between secondary education, on the one hand, and vocational training and higher education institutions on the other. It will also help diversify the secondary education curriculum to make it more relevant to the Tunisian society and economy.
“One of the overall goals of this education program, which was launched in 2001 is to provide a greater number of students from a wide range of backgrounds with opportunities for quality education, especially after completing basic education” says World Bank Country Director for Tunisia, Ted Ahlers. “This will have an impact on Tunisia’s ability to achieve high growth rates in high-productivity sectors such as information technology and ecotourism.
Covering the period 2004-2007, the EQIP II will focus directly on issues of quality in the classroom for basic and secondary education, modernizing the management of school sectors and strengthening the systems of training, ICT, assessment and infrastructure. Project activities will include technical assistance, training for teachers, managers and education specialists, as well as purchase of equipment and the construction and rehabilitation of schools.
The EQIP falls in line with the World Bank’s country assistance strategy for Tunisia which emphasizes human resource development as a means for long-term development, and new initiatives that strengthen local institutions. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)