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26 April 2019, 14:57

WB to allocate €90m to boost rural education in Belarus

LYUBAN DISTRICT, 26 April (BelTA) – Belarus Education Minister Igor Karpenko and head of the World Bank Office in Belarus Alex Kremer signed an agreement on additional financing of the Education Modernization Project, BelTA learned.

The agreement provides for the allocation of €90 million to continue renovating schools in villages and small towns.

For example, over €81 million will be spent on rehabilitation and overhaul of institutions of general secondary education, acquisition of training and laboratory equipment. Centers providing social-cultural, psychological counselling services will be set up in rural schools of Vitebsk Oblast (one in each district). Innovative centers on science education will be set up in selected schools to promote collaborative learning and science education in Mogilev Oblast. All in all, the project will cover at least 220 schools throughout the country.

Another €6.7 million will be used to modernize the education management system, build the capacities of the national education quality assessment system and support Belarus' participation in PISA programs in 2021. In 2018 the country participated in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for the first time in its history, involving over 5,800 15-year-old schoolchildren.

Around €2 million will be earmarked for support, monitoring and assessment of the project

According to Igor Karpenko, all children must have equal opportunities in education regardless of the size and location of the school. “This is the message of our head of state, and we are doing our best to meet this goal, including with the help of the World Bank through the project to upgrade regional schools. I am confident that our further cooperation with the bank and the agreement we have signed will promote the creation of equal rights for children. This includes equipped classes and technical aids to help every kid develop, receive quality education, socialize and get ready for a responsible life,” the minister said.

Alex Kremer stressed for his part that when people talk of investment, they often think of the construction of roads and power plants. However, these all cannot be more important for the country than education. “Demography changes. We can see more children in one region and fewer in another. The adaptation of the school network falls on the shoulders of the Education Ministry. The World Bank welcomes the ministry's efforts to address the issue. I am impressed with Belarus' determination to shift to per student financing and develop a network of schools with education centers. I am confident that Belarus can be proud of such steps,” he said.

The agreement was signed at the Starye Yurkovichi kindergarten-secondary school. The facility was rehabilitated in 2016-2017, including with the help of the World Bank. The bank allocated Br423,000 to repair the school roof, classes on the second floor, sanitary facilities and the hall. The rest of the classes, the gym and changing rooms were overhauled with the help of the funds allocated from the local budget (Br263,000).

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