ADDITIONAL US $ 13.5 million was approved by the World Bank on Monday to complete the construction of two high schools, supply resources for those schools and build another high school, under Guyana’s ongoing Secondary Education Improvement Project.
According to a World Bank press release, the amount was approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. It was also stated that the aim of the Secondary Education Improvement Project is to improve teaching in mathematics and increase enrollment in secondary schools. Equipment and training will also be provided to support innovative technology-led delivery of education.
The World Bank Resident Representative for Jamaica and Guyana, Ozan Sevimli, highlighted that while Guyana’s education sector has made significant progress in the last decade, strengthening learning outcomes remains a priority, in addition to the challenges presented by the pandemic COVID-19.
“Through the ongoing project, we are pleased to support government in piloting the use of technology and innovative ways of teaching, which are particularly relevant during distance learning. The new funding was quoted as supporting a “smart classroom” initiative pilot to help the sector build back better from the pandemic, ”Sevimli was quoted in the statement.
The additional funding approved will also provide additional resources to an existing pilot program using adaptive tablet learning software for mathematics education. This project emphasizes the use of technology and higher quality math education, both of which are important in preparing Guyanese students for future employment.
Teachers’ capacity building is another important part of the project, as this is considered essential to improving the quality of secondary education offered. The project also supports the construction of secondary schools in Regions Three and Four, which comprise nearly 30 percent of the country’s secondary school population and over 40 percent of the population living in poverty.
“Access to high quality secondary schools can reduce overcrowding, improve teaching conditions, and contribute to increased enrollment,” the World Bank said in the statement.
The Guyana Secondary Education Project was approved in 2014 and has been extended to 2023 to ensure the successful completion of all activities. The original project has already developed maths standards for secondary school teachers, supported maths training for over 600 teachers, and distributed 200 maths teaching packs.
The World Bank noted that Guyana receives interest-free funding from the International Development Association (IDA), with a maturity of 40 years, including a 10-year grace period. In addition, it was noted that the World Bank had approved support for Guyana’s health response to COVID-19 in November 2020.