India gets $1 bn World Bank loan to improve education

Washington: The World Bank has approved two education projects worth $1.05 billion for India, designed to boost the number of children enrolling in and completing elementary school, and to improve the quality of engineering education across the country.

India has made significant progress in meeting its education goals, especially at the primary level, the bank said announcing additional support for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a nationwide programme aimed at providing quality elementary education to all children.

The bank has supported the SSA with two IDA credits totalling $1.1 billion since 2003.

“SSA – the largest ongoing Education for All (EFA) programme in the world – has been remarkably successful, particularly in achieving greater access to elementary education,” said Roberto Zagha, the World Bank Country Director for India.

“Between 2003 and 2009 the number of children reportedly enrolled in elementary education in India increased by 57 million to 192 million. More than two-thirds of this increase took place in government schools.

“The number of children out of school declined from 25 million to 8.1 million during that same period, a truly remarkable achievement.”

The $750 million in additional financing for the Second Elementary Education Project will enable SSA to expand activities related to increased access at upper primary level (grades 5-8), increase elementary level completion rates, and improve learning outcomes for the full elementary cycle (grades 1-8).

The $300 million for the Second Technical/Engineering Education Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP) will support some 200 competitively selected engineering education institutions to produce higher quality and more employable engineers.

It will also scale up post-graduate education, research, development and innovation at these institutions, the bank said. This is the second phase of TEQIP, an envisioned 15-year phased programme initiated with the first phase from 2002 to 2009.

The project builds on the significant results achieved in the first phase of the project which supported 127 institutions and thousands of faculty members in well performing institutions such as NIT Rourkela, the College of Engineering Pune, the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad, and BIT Mesra.

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