World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Dr. Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough and Finance and Mass Media Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga exchange the signed agreement
Sri Lanka yesterday signed a US $ 100 million credit agreement with the World Bank to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to strengthen and modernise the general education system in the country.
The General Education Modernization Project (GEM) will modernize and diversify the curriculum of general education, in keeping with the transformation taking place in Sri Lanka’s society and economy.
Greater emphasis will be on strategic subjects that are key for economic development, such as English and mathematics.
The project will help broaden the choices at the GCE A-level grades, so that the students have the flexibility in selecting subjects from among the arts, management, science, technology and vocational streams.
The learning material for English language and mathematics will be developed digitally and the focus will be on the children from schools located in more disadvantaged regions.
World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Dr. Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough and Finance and Mass Media Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga signed the agreement at the Finance Ministry on behalf of the World Bank and Government of Sri Lanka, respectively.
“Sri Lanka has made impressive progress in expanding access to education.
However, to reach the status of an upper-middle-income country, it needs to further improve the overall learning outcomes. Sri Lanka’s education policymakers recognize that a high-quality general education system will enable students to meet the demands of the 21st century jobs,” said Pswarayi-Riddihough.
“We are happy to partner with the government to ensure that all children have the opportunity to gain the foundational skills, especially in mathematics and English, needed to participate in Sri Lanka’s economic growth,” she added.
The project will benefit school students both at the primary (grades 1-5) and secondary (grades 6-13) levels.
The technical education and vocational training institutes, academic and managerial staff of the schools will also benefit from this project.
The World Bank has been a long-standing partner of Sri Lanka in the education sector.
The Transforming School Education System Project (TSEP), supported by the World Bank, has helped the country increase the survival rate of students from grades 1–11 (ages 6–16) to over 87 percent, introduced a regular cycle of national assessments of learning outcomes and started School Based Management to support the administration of schools in all zones.
In addition, the TSEP helped in strengthening the capacity of the decentralized tiers of education administration.
“The GEM will support the government to modernize the primary and secondary education system in line with international standards established in middle-income and high-income education systems,” said Harsha Aturupane, Lead Economist and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project.
“The successful implementation of the overall general education reform programme and the key priorities supported by the GEM should lead to improved learning outcomes and higher socio-emotional skills among students,” he added.
The GEM, approved yesterday, will build on the experience and lessons learned from the TSEP and strengthen the World Bank’s support to the general education sector.