The FINANCIAL — The World Bank Board of Directors approved on September 30 US$50 million in financing to support the Government of the Dominican Republic’s efforts to improve the quality of pre-university education through a National Pact for Education. The project aims to recruit and train primary and secondary school teachers; assess student learning in primary and secondary schools; evaluate early childhood development services and help decentralize public school management.
“This financing focuses on the Government’s key priority to provide opportunities for all Dominicans by ensuring quality education” said Victor Sánchez Jáquez, Vice minister of Planning under the Dominican Ministry of Education. “This is an important effort to ensure that the skills learned in the classroom lay the foundation for future workplace success”.
According to the latest regional student assessment, on average 78 percent of third grade Dominican students did not achieve a basic level of competence in reading, and 90 percent of students performed below the basic math level. From 1989 to 2009, the Dominican Republic was the Latin American country that invested the least in public education. The recent signing of the National Education Pact made education one of the top priorities for the Dominican society.
“By signing the National Pact for Education, the DR is not only addressing a key bottleneck to boost inclusive and sustainable growth in the country, but it is also setting an example for the region by focusing on quality of education,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.
To help improve student learning in pre-university education, the Support to the National Education Pact project will:
Improve the quality of classroom instruction of primary and secondary teachers
Improve the student assessment system to track progress and support teacher training programs
Increase school readiness by improving the standards of Early Childhood Development Centers
Enhance the decentralization of public school management and promote community involvement in the education sector
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Education (MINERD) and financed under a US$50 million Investment Project Financing over five years, with a 24.5 year maturity period and an 11-year grace period.