New Delhi, 9 November 2009 – Nepal is granted US$120 million for the implementation of the School Sector Reform Plan. With an annual per capita income of about US$ 470 in 2008, Nepal is among the poorest countries in South Asia. Thirty percent of its children drop out of primary grades and hundreds of thousands of children do not attend school at all. The national education plan aims to address this by bringing the hardest to reach children into schools and reducing the financial burden on communities. The grant will also finance multi-lingual teaching and establish teachers’ compensation grants to help the decentralization of teacher hiring.
The announcement of EFA FTI initiative is an outcome of the Nepal March for Education, the month long march organised by Backward Society Education in Nepal (BASE Nepal), Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Global March Against Child Labour and other partners. During the flag-off ceremony on 8 September 2009, from Mahendranager Prime Minister of Nepal Madhav Kumar urged Mr. Satyarthi, Chairperson of Global March Against Child Labour to work on all fronts and involve Nepal in the Fast Track Initiative on Education for All. Mr. Satyarthi forwarded the Prime Minister’s request and presented the current situation of Nepal in the FTI Steering Committee meeting.
The Education for All Fast Track Initiative (EFA FTI) in its recent donor meeting in Rome announced that US$153.5 million is granted to Lesotho, Nepal and Tajikistan to support their programs to enroll children into school, have them complete a primary education and improve the quality of learning. The new funding will help to address the needs of approximately 1 million out-of-school children living in these countries.
The grants come from the EFA FTI’s Catalytic Fund, a multilateral fund sponsored by 18 donors. It helps low-income countries that have FTI-endorsed national education strategies to scale-up their education investments.
A grant of US$13.5 million is approved for Tajikistan to support the National Strategy for Education Development. Tajikistan is a low-income country with extensive needs in basic education, despite the government’s strong commitment to Education for All. The grant will help build and rehabilitate schools and provide basic school materials to over 60,000 students. Supplementary reading materials will be provided to roughly one quarter of the country’s schools. The grant will also be used to provide extra training to 20,000 teachers every year.
“I congratulate the donors in the FTI Catalytic Fund Committee for granting over US$150 million to countries in three regions -- Africa, South Asia, and Central Asia -- to scale up the implementation of their plans to achieve the education for all targets,” says Robin Horn, World Bank Sector Manager for Education and Chair of the Catalytic Fund Committee. “What is especially significant about these country programs is that they are fully supported by the remarkably strong collaboration between government and local development partners, which is the hallmark of the EFA FTI Partnership.”
Mr. Satyarthi said that “It’s heartening to know that the money for children education has been allocated for Nepal and other countries. Nepal is going through a transition and all the people of Nepal are now ready for the democratic nation which is only possible through proper education. Nepal has become a source of trafficking in South Asia; children are being prostituted, abused and exploited. But EFA FTI contribution would definitely help in building a strong child friendly country.”
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