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18 Sep 2015

World Bank allocates $50m for Belarus’ education modernization project

MINSK, 18 September (BelTA) – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a $50 million loan for Belarus on 17 September to support the modernization of the country’s education system, BelTA learnt from the World Bank Office in Belarus.

The new Education Modernization Project is aimed to improve access to quality learning environment in 120 general secondary schools, and strengthen student assessment and education management information systems of the country.

“We have had a long and fruitful history of partnership in improving the delivery of infrastructure and social services in Belarus, including through institutional and policy development. However, this project is actually the first investment operation funded by the World Bank specifically designed to support sustainable development of the education sector in Belarus,” said Young Chul Kim, World Bank Country Manager for Belarus. He added that the project expands the cooperation between the World Bank and Belarus and provides an important foundation for long-term collaboration in education, which is fundamental to position Belarus as a competitive and dynamic player in the global economy.

Under the loan, existing approaches to student learning assessment and data analysis will be strengthened to achieve better system performance and improve student learning outcomes. “Although Belarus has a national system of education quality monitoring, it has never participated in a major international assessment of student learning, having little comparable data about the quality of secondary education and how it evolved over time,” the World Bank Office in Belarus said. According to specialists, the project will facilitate Belarus’s participation in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) for the first time in 2018. This assessment will be carried out every three years thereafter.

“PISA 2018 will become a benchmark, which can be used for assessing the quality of education in Belarus compared to more than 70 other counties,” noted Igor Kheyfets, World Bank Project Team Leader. In his words, looking at competencies of 15-year-old pupils in the field of mathematics, reading, and science, PISA measures to what extent the learning acquired can be applied to everyday needs and helps countries to identify areas for improvement.

Since the Republic of Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992, lending commitments to the country have totaled $1.48 billion. In addition, grant financing has been provided to various programs. With the approval of this project, the active investment lending portfolio financed by the World Bank includes eight operations totaling $988 million.

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