The government has signed a new agreement with the Australian government and the World Bank Group aimed at helping millions of Myanmar students benefit from quality education.
The Decentralising Funding to School Project is financed by an $80-million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and $20 million in grants from the Aussie government through the Myanmar Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund.
The money is aimed at improving and expanding the Myanmar’s School Grants Program and Student Stipends Program.
An estimated 8.2 million students from the poor, rural areas in Myanmar will benefit from better- financed schools and more than 100,000 poor students will receive financial support to attend classes through this project, the World Bank said in a statement.
“A better education benefits everybody – children, families, communities and the country. School grants, and stipends for poor students, will help more children attend and learn at school,” said Bronte Moules, Australian Ambassador to Myanmar.
The project provides direct support to the Ministry of Education to expand funding for the national schools grants program that benefits all schools under the Ministry of Education, and a student stipends program that will focus on 40 townships.
The project also aims to strengthen the ministry’s capacity to monitor and implement these programs.
By the age of 10, nearly 20 percent of children belonging to the poorest quintile in Myanmar leave school, compared with only a few percent of children belonging to the richest quintile do so.
The World Bank said this project will contribute to important longer-term goals in Myanmar’s education sector. Improving the school grants and stipends programs will strengthen the ability of the ministry to provide a quality education for all citizens by helping to ensure that more students will stay in school longer, it added.
“Giving all of Myanmar’s children the opportunity of a good education is essential for Myanmar,” said Ulrich Zachau, country director of the World Bank for Southeast Asia.
“The government’s program for decentralised funding of schools will help improve education across Myanmar, delivering visible benefits to its people by improving quality of teaching and providing children with better opportunities in life,” he added.
The $80 million IDA credit in support of education sector of Myanmar is part of the World Bank Group’s growing program support for a country it once shunned.
During his visit to Myanmar at the end of January, Group President Jim Yong Kim announced plans for a $2 billion multi-year development package for Myanmar. This will include projects to help improve agriculture, access to energy and health services, and to provide support for other key development priorities.