Press Release No:2007/431/AFR
WASHINGTON, June 5, 2007 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved an International Development Association (IDA) grant of US$150 million to finance an expansion of primary enrollment, the rehabilitation of education infrastructure and an improvement of the quality of education in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The objective of the project is to prevent further deterioration in the delivery of essential services for primary education and to prepare the ground for a sustainable development and financing of the education sector that would facilitate donor coordination and future transition to a sector-wide program.
The grant funding approved by the World Bank will notably lower the financial burden on households for the subsistence of the education system by reducing primary school fees and providing free access to textbooks, and by increasing equity in the supply of primary education services.
The project will also help restore access to primary education of at least minimal quality, especially in areas affected by the conflict of the last decade. It will strengthen accountability by empowering local communities to participate in decision-making and oversight of schools and the provision of education services.
The project will cover the entire country. All public and public-subsidized primary schools will be targeted by the support for reducing school fees and expanding distribution of textbooks. This will also be the case for classroom rehabilitation, although two-thirds of the classrooms rehabilitated will be in areas most affected by the war.
The project will also provide the building blocks to devise a medium-term education sector development program.
Some of the key outcomes anticipated as a result of the grant funding provided by the Bank include: (i) a growth in gross enrollment ratio from 64 percent in 2007 to 75 percent in 2012; (ii) an increase in primary education completion rate from 29 percent in 2007 to 35 percent in 2012; (iii) the adoption of DR Congo’s teacher career structure; (iv) an adoption of an education sector strategy, including a medium-term financing plan, with indicators agreed with donors and approved by the Government.
The first component of the project (US$104.52 million) will focus on increasing access and equity at primary school level under which US$70.10 million will be devoted to eliminating parents’ monetary contributions to sustain operating costs for primary schools and to integrating 30,000 primary school teachers into the public payroll for public primary schools. Still under this component, US$28.73 million will be devoted to the rehabilitation of primary school infrastructure while US$3.38 million will be used in the rehabilitation of the National Pedagogical University – DR Congo’s only high-level institution exclusively focused on pedagogic research and training teachers and tertiary level educators. A final sub-component will help build and strengthen safeguards in the country’s Teacher Pay System.
The second component (US$28.76 million) will focus on improving the quality of education with a huge part of the money (US$26.01 million) ear-marked for the provision of textbooks. The initial objective of this component was to provide reading and mathematics textbooks for grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 to complement the grades 5 and 6 textbooks financed by the Belgian Cooperation for academic year 2004-2005. With Belgian Cooperation financing textbooks for grades 3 and 4, the IDA grant would focus on support, among others, for the acquisition of textbooks for grades 1 and 2 in mathematics and reading, in a ratio of one textbook per student, and one textbook and the corresponding teacher’s guide per teacher for all public schools and government-supported private schools. This will represent a total of about 11 million textbooks and 278,000 teachers’ guides. A small part of funding for this component (US$2.75 million) will help build capacity to assess learning achievement.
The third component (US$5.06 million) will contribute to revising the legal and institutional framework of the education system, and to reinforce institutional capacities for planning, budget formulation, and program execution.
The fourth and final component (US$11.17 million) will focus on strengthening project management and coordination via the Steering Committee comprising several ministries. Funding will enable an acquisition of technical advisory services, computer equipment, office materials, supplies and vehicles required of the project as well as the provision of study tours to enhance capacity and expertise.
The 2005 Constitution of DR Congo stipulates that primary education is compulsory and fees-free.
For more information on the World Bank in sub-Saharan Africa visit: www.worldbank.org/afr
For more information on the World Bank in DR Congo: www.worldbank.org/drc
For more information about this project visit: http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=64283627&piPK=73230&theSitePK=349466&menuPK=349500&Projectid=P086294
In Washington: Herbert Boh (202) 473-3548
In Kinshasa: Louise M. Engulu (243) 994 9015