The World Bank approved today the third additional financing to the Republic of Mozambique’s Education Sector Support Project (ESSP) in the amount of $59 million equivalent.
This International Development Association credit supports the ESSP goals to improve access to and quality and equity of education in Mozambique. The funds will be channeled through the Education Sector Support Fund, known as FASE from its Portuguese acronym, which receives financial contributions from nine donors for the implementation of the country’s 2016-2019 Education Strategic Plan.
Mozambique made significant progress in improving equitable access to primary education recently. Between 2009 and 2015, net enrollment in Grade 1 of six-year-old children increased from 67 percent to 83.9 percent and every year more children are in the education system overall. However, the education sector faces challenges in terms of low retention rates and learning outcomes. In addition, the current financial crisis is threatening to reverse the years of progress made in improving access to education, especially in rural areas and among those in lower income brackets of the population.
“I am pleased with the approval of this additional financing in times of acute fiscal distress,” said Mark Lundell, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Comoros. “It will contribute to provide much-needed assistance and ensure the continuation and delivery of key education services, including particularly to the most vulnerable who tend to bear the brunt in times of crises.”
The additional financing will scale up activities focused on addressing key bottlenecks to improving learning outcomes in the first cycle of primary education and enhancing the sector’s efficiency. Some of those activities include: improving school readiness; enhancing learning environment; and enhancing school management and governance through increased supervision by districts, enhanced capacity of school councils, as well as the targeting of resources to achieve learning for all, with a focus on the most vulnerable.
The overarching focus of the government’s Strategic Plan is on improving education quality especially during primary education in response to evidence of low learning outcomes and issues with retention in the first cycle of primary education. “This additional financing will also introduce another component to the project to support the implementation of key analytical activities to contribute to the preparation of Mozambique’s next education sector strategy,” noted Ana Menezes, World Bank task team leader for the operation.
This operation is consistent with the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity through access to education. The operation is in line with recently approved World Bank Strategy for Mozambique, known as Country Partnership Framework 2017-2021, and support’s the government’s priorities as set forth in its current education strategic plan.