Malé, Maldives – The Executive Board of World Bank passed a project worth USD 9 million to fund the development of secondary education in the Maldives.
The entirety of the funds will go toward improving the performance of the education system, schools, and teaching and learning outcomes at the secondary education level in the country.
“Maldives has achieved almost universal enrolment at early childhood, primary and lower secondary education levels, but low net enrolment and high gender disparity are the major challenges at the higher secondary level. Learning outcomes are moderate, with clear geographical disparities among atolls, and between islands within atolls. The average scores for English, Mathematics and Dhivehi for Grade 4 and Grade 7 students ranged between 50 to 60 percent,” World Bank said.
“The COVID 19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the Maldives’ general education system, forcing the extended closure of primary and secondary schools across the entire country,” said Faris. H. Hadad-Zervos, the World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “The project will broaden educational opportunities for the youth and advance the country’s equitable economic and human development.”
According to World Bank, the project, which has been named Maldives Atoll Education Development Project, will support the Maldivian government in improving the quality of secondary education in subjects of strategic importance for economic development such as English language, mathematics, science, and skills education, in order to ensure more students qualify for higher secondary education.
Schools will be encouraged to adopt environment-friendly behaviors like saving energy and reducing waste as part of the project as well. The project will also support atoll schools in expanding their ICT equipment and technology while also improving the skills of teachers to address the needs of students with learning challenges. Skills of school principals, management officials, and teachers will also be improved through targeted programs.
“The Maldivian government is implementing a comprehensive curriculum reform initiative and is focusing on improving learning outcomes equitably across Atolls and islands,” said Harsha Aturupane World Bank Lead Economist and Task Team Leader. “Building on these positive steps, Maldives needs to strengthen the quality of general education with a special focus on teacher performance in the outer atolls, and the quality assurance of schools in the islands with small student populations” added Karthika Radhakrishnan-Nair, World Bank Education Specialist and Co-Task Team Leader of the project.
The Maldives Atoll Education Development Project will be implemented by the Ministry of Education. The total financing is $10 million, which is comprised of a $4.5 million grant and a $4.5 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional credit window for developing countries, and a contribution of US$1 million of counterpart funds from the Government of Maldives.