Multi-million Dollar Loan to Boost Education

A $69.25 million cash boost pledges to deliver equal access to education for all nationwide, as part of efforts to develop a “knowledge-based society”.
Students read books at Royal University of Phnom Penh on January 10, 2022.. Picture: Sam
Students read books at Royal University of Phnom Penh on January 10, 2022.. Picture: Sam

Cambodia has received a US$69.25 million cash injection from the World Bank and Global Partnership for Education to elevate access to education for all nationwide.

On Wednesday, the World Bank approved US$60 million credit through its International Development Association in addition to a Global Partnership for Education grant of US$9.25 million, it announced in a press release.

The funding will support the five-year General Education Improvement Project (GEIP), which aims to help Cambodia achieve the vision outlined in its Education Strategic Plan (ESP 2019-2023). This seeks to “establish and develop human resources that are of the very highest quality and are ethically sound in order to develop a knowledge-based society”.

The World Bank said to realize this objective, the Cambodian government has expressed a commitment to address two main challenges: low student learning outcomes and inequitable access to quality basic education. This includes early childhood, primary, and secondary education.

“Cambodia has certainly made great achievements in expanding access to education, but equitable access to education for certain groups of children, such as those living in remote areas, coming from poor families or ethnic minority communities, and those living with disabilities, remains an issue,” said World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia, Maryam Salim.

Student learning outcomes have been greatly affected by prolonged school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Salim added. “We strongly hope that the project will address these challenges and build back better.”

Global Partnership for Education CEO, Alice P. Albright, said this funding comes at a crucial time as the new COVID-19 variant worsens the pandemic’s impact on education systems around the world.

“We hope these funds will allow Cambodia to continue increasing access to quality education and ensure that the most vulnerable children are in school and learning,” she said.

The World Bank said the project’s key activities include implementing a school-based management program, providing capacity development to teachers, school leaders, teacher trainers and educational staff, and improving learning environments.

The project calls for the construction and rehabilitation of school buildings, science laboratories, teacher training institutions, dormitories for teachers, and special education schools; purchase of education technology equipment; and support for students with disabilities, including disability screening.