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Post Info TOPIC: ADB provides big package of loan worth US$21.56 million to improve Lao education

ADB provides big package of loan worth US$21.56 million to improve Lao education

ADB Assistance to Improve Access to Secondary Education in Lao PDR

Manila, Dec 24, 2006 (ACN Newswire) - Asian Development Bank (ASX: ATB) is providing a loan and grant package totaling US$21.56 million to help the Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) expand access to and improve the quality of education, particularly at lower secondary level.

The Government, with the help of donors, has made considerable progress in improving access to education, particularly in primary education, supporting the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education. However, issues of quality and access remain for the higher levels of schooling.

"The gains from increased primary enrollments will be lost if the lower secondary and upper secondary subsectors are not ready to absorb the primary school graduates who may want to pursue further studies," says Sukhdeep Brar, an ADB Senior Education Specialist.

The Basic Education Sector Development project is the first intervention in the country aimed at the lower secondary education level, and builds on the achievements of the ADB-backed Basic Education (Girls) Project and Second Education Quality Improvement Project. It constitutes a program loan of $8.9 million and a project grant of $12.66 million, both from ADB's concessional Asian Development Fund.

The program loan will support policy actions aimed at increasing resource allocations to the education sector, creating an outcome-oriented budgeting and financial management system, and providing a more relevant and integrated curriculum.

It will strengthen teacher management by preparing a recruitment and deployment plan, and developing a teacher management information system. It will also boost decentralized management in the Ministry of Education (MOE) and relevant provincial and district bodies.

The loan carries a 24-year term, including a grace period of 8 years, with an interest charge of 1% per annum during the grace period and 1.5% per annum thereafter. The loan will be utilized over 3 years, from the first quarter of 2007 to April 2010.

The project grant will supplement the initiatives under the program loan by expanding access to lower secondary education. To reach more girls and ethnic groups, it will provide nine school buildings and about 80 classrooms in existing lower secondary schools in 10 poor underserved districts. In high demand areas, it will provide 19 school buildings and about 64 additional classrooms in 10 high-growth, nonpoor districts.

Scholarships will be provided to more than 1,600 poor ethnic children, particularly girls, and grants will be given to 96 needy schools in 13 provinces.

The grant will also revise the curriculum to account for lower secondary school expansion from 3 to 4 years, provide equipment and textbooks and other learning and teaching materials, and train teachers in all 17 provinces.

"Ultimately, Lao PDR will benefit from a better educated youth who will contribute to economic and social development of the country," adds Ms. Brar.

The Government will contribute $3.17 million toward the project grant component's total cost of $15.83 million. It is due for completion in March 2012.


ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 64 members - 46 from the region.

In 2005, it approved loans and grants for projects totaling $6.95 billion, and technical assistance amounting to $198.8 million.

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