ADB okays $300-M loan for PH education project
About 20 million high school students can expect improved access to “high-quality secondary education that responds to labor market needs” as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $300-million loan to support the Philippine government’s efforts to achieve inclusive growth.
“Sustaining the Philippines’ strong growth momentum will require a workforce equipped with the appropriate set of advanced skills and knowledge to allow them to keep in step with the rapid technological changes in the global economy,” said Lynnette Peres, ADB senior education specialist for Southeast Asia.
Continued investments in high-quality education are crucial to attaining the government’s vision of lowering unemployment and poverty rates, Peres said in a statement.
Designed to help boost job opportunities and substantially reduce poverty, the Secondary Education Support Program is geared to help about 10.6 million students who are currently enrolled in high school and an additional 2 million Grade 7 entrants yearly from 2019 to 2023.
The ADB noted that the Philippine government had set a target of lowering poverty to 14 percent of the population by 2022 from the current 21 percent.
In particular, the program seeks to improve the performance of students in the National Achievement Test and the national certificate assessment for senior high school technical-vocational-livelihood track specialization.
Also expected to benefit are at least 294,000 public school teachers in high school—as well as additional hires over the next four years—in terms of improved teaching practices, teacher proficiency and career development.
The program will also support the Department of Education’s financial management reforms, particularly the timely release of budget for maintenance and operation, tools and equipment of high schools.
The effectiveness of the Education Service Contracting program and the Senior High School Voucher program—which currently benefits 1.3 million students—will also be assessed.
The ADB is looking at lending the Philippines up to $3.3 billion this year, including $100 million to augment the ongoing improvement of water transmission from Angat Dam to Metro Manila.
ADB president Takehiko Nakao earlier said that the Manila-based multilateral lender used to lend the country about $1 billion a year, but would jack it up to an average of about $2.5 billion yearly.
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