Kyrgyzstan gets $22mn ADB loan to improve education

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
[PHOTO: Nniknak/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing grant assistance of $22 million to help the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic address major gaps in the quality and relevance of the country’s education system, which are undermining its drive for better living standards and a more competitive economy.

Two separate grant agreements linked to the Strengthening Education System Sector Development Program were signed in Bishkek today by Olga Lavrova, Minister of Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic and Rie Hiraoka, ADB Country Director.

“ADB has been supporting the Kyrgyz Republic in improving its education system for many years, and plans to continue doing so,” said Rie Hiraoka. "Much has been done in recent years, but more efforts and reform actions are needed to improve students' learning outcomes.”

The ADB-assisted Strengthening Education System Sector Development Program will support ongoing policy reforms and other sector actions under the government’s Education Development Strategy for 2012 to 2020. This is in line with the National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2013–2017.

The program will help the government complete its introduction of new curricula, including for mathematics and sciences; revise guidelines for textbook development, publishing and distribution; and establish a textbook rental scheme to provide free rentals to a number of poor and vulnerable students. It will also help implement a national teacher development program; introduce a teacher ranking and progression system with salaries linked to professional standards; and develop and roll out a training plan for school principals, teacher training staff and others, which will include e-learning. The skills of 10,000 teachers will be upgraded under an in-service training plan.

Creating schools responsive to the needs of a modern economy is a government goal, and the program will also support the development of up to 30 schools as innovative learning centers for mathematics, science and technology, and as cluster centers for teacher training, which can potentially be replicated. The schools will get financial support for science laboratories and information and communications technology, including software. The target schools have yet to be selected but will be in poor and remote locations.

The program builds on and complements previous ADB support for the sector which began in 1997 with the Education Sector Development Program.

ADB’s assistance from its concessional Asian Development Fund will include both policy and project grants of $12 million and $10 million respectively, which will be disbursed in two tranches. The government will provide counterpart support equivalent to $2.12 million. The new program will run for about 6 years, with an estimated completion date of August 2021.
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