New Delhi: Around 3,000 schools of Gujarat, which have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will get help from the World Bank in the form of finances to the tune of $250 million.
“Following the COVID-19 crisis, the state estimated learning losses of about 10 percent, with students in priority areas being disproportionately impacted,” said a statement issued on behalf of the World Bank.
The World Bank will be providing the additional financing for Outcomes for Accelerated Learning (GOAL), a program which aims to improve education results for children across the state of Gujarat, the statement said.
“This financing will benefit an additional 3,000 schools that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.
The education system in the State of Gujarat ensures schooling for almost 12 million students, 65 percent of which are in remote regions or ‘priority districts’, and “where literacy and gender gaps are most pronounced”, the statement said.
“Priority districts also tend to lag in terms of access to education, school infrastructure and learning outcomes,” it added.
“Additional resources and more instructional time are needed to mitigate the immediate impacts of the pandemic on learning, especially for the most vulnerable,” said Hideki Mori, the World Bank’s Acting Country Director for India.
Noting that India is home to almost 25 percent of the world’s children, Mori said its model and approach for learning recovery has the potential to inform the actions of developing countries in the region and across the world.
The financing complements the original loan of $500 million, which was approved in March 2021, and is in line with the Bank’s Rapid Response Framework.
The framework seeks to reach every child and retain them in schools; assess learning levels regularly; prioritize teaching the fundamentals; increase catch-up learning and develop psychosocial health for students and teachers.
“This additional financing will scale-up the coverage of the original program from a total of 9,000 to 12,000 schools, while also supporting new efforts to test the efficacy of the program’s interventions,” said Shabnam Sinha, Lead Education Specialist and Task Team Leader for the project.
“Beyond facilitating learning continuity and recovery from COVID-19, support will focus on providing quality education and climate-resilient school infrastructure,” Sinha said.
The $250 million variable spread loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a final maturity of 16 years, including a grace period of 5.5 years.