Belarus gets WB $50m loan for education modernization project
MINSK, 23 September (BelTA) – The World Bank allocated a $50 million loan for Belarus to support the modernization of the country's education system, Education Minister of Belarus Mikhail Zhuravkov said at the documents signing ceremony in the Education Ministry on 23 September, BelTA has learned.
The new Education Modernization Project has been developed by the Belarusian Education Ministry in cooperation with World Bank specialists and includes three main components. The first part of the project is aimed to improve access to quality learning environment in general secondary schools in the rural area and small towns. The second part of it focuses on the provision of modern IT and training equipment for 120 schools (310 physics, chemistry, biology and computer science classrooms). According to Mikhail Zhuravkov, schools under the project have been selected and coordinated with the World Bank. Among them are 34 schools from Brest Oblast, 10 from Vitebsk Oblast, 41 from Gomel Oblast, nine from Grodno Oblast, nine from Minsk Oblast and 17 from Mogilev Oblast.
The third part of the project is aimed at upgrading the management system of the general secondary education. The funds will be also invested in strengthening student assessment and education management information systems of the country. In 2015 the Belarusian authorities will evaluate how the national quality assessment system of the general secondary education with the help of the World Bank Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER). The assessment will be included into the analytical report to define the areas of the national education quality assessment system that need improvement. Belarus also plans to participate in an internationally comparable system of student learning assessment, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), for the first time in 2018. The program will be carried out every three years thereafter, testing 15-year-old pupils in the field of mathematics, reading, and science.
According to Young Chul Kim, World Bank Country Manager for Belarus, 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. The country has been implementing the World Bank Country Partnership Strategy for Belarus for 2014-2017, which also aims to assist the development of the education sector.