The World Bank Group have approved a loan for the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to strengthen the country’s education service delivery and management systems. The project will also improve the quality of education in the early years and for junior secondary students, in targeted areas. The project is co-financed by the Global Partnership for Education through a grant.
The Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini recognises the importance of the education sector and the role it plays in building the country’s human capital and transforming its economic and social landscape. Despite prioritising education both in terms of financing and policies (Eswatini introduced Free Primary Education (FPE) in 2010), school completion rates and learning outcomes have been low compared to other lower-middle income countries. Prolonged school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to have exacerbated student dropout rates and low learning levels, particularly for children from poor and vulnerable households.
“This project supports the government to address learning losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly amongst the poor and most vulnerable. It takes a life-cycle approach to human capital development, ensuring that all children start with a solid foundation for learning by strengthening the quality of early childhood care, development, and education, as well as supporting teachers to deliver effective foundational literacy and numeracy programmes in primary schools,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa.
“It is commendable that the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini is prioritising human capital investments, and is dedicated to improving accessibility, effectiveness, and inclusiveness of education services, particularly for orphans and vulnerable children.”
The project supports Eswatini’s human capital development agenda by strongly aligning with the country’s National Strategic Development Plan and the new Education Strategic Sector Plan (2022-2034), which has a strong focus on improving learning levels, access to and completion of education, strengthening teacher management and development, and building the resilience of the education sector to respond to future crises.
The project aims to put in place the critical building blocks to improving service delivery in early childhood development, foundational learning, and secondary education to better prepare children and youth for the future. It will also strengthen the management of the education sector through better data collection, analysis, and dissemination to build a stronger culture of accountability for results.
This project complements the ongoing Health Systems Strengthening and COVID-19 Emergency Response projects which the World Bank Group is financing to support holistic human capital development in the Kingdom.
Learn More: World Bank in Eswatini