MANILA, PHILIPPINES - ADB has approved a US$15.5 million grant for a project that will help deliver better education to children in poor areas and from disadvantaged families in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Building on the achievements of the first ADB-financed Education Sector Development Program in the country, the project will help the Government modernize the country's basic education curriculum, including an improved learning assessment system and new textbooks.
It will also upgrade facilities and educational equipment for 90 schools in rural areas, strengthen in-service teacher training and provide financial incentives for rural teachers.
"The project will help develop a general education system that is more responsive to the needs of a modern, market-oriented economy and more focused on poorer areas of the country," says Raikhan Sabirova, an ADB Project Specialist.
Major problems in the Kyrgyz Republic's education sector arise from the current curriculum, the state of the teaching profession, and limited access to education in rural areas. The curriculum, while somewhat different from the Soviet one, continues the tradition of heavily content-based subjects.
ADB's first education project addressed an urgent textbook shortage problem by procuring 3.35 million textbooks and teachers' guides. Now, a new curriculum requires a new generation of textbooks and learning materials.
Current learning assessment strategies, which rely on student grades to judge the quality of education provided by the school, need to be upgraded, and the shortage of qualified teachers needs to be addressed. Access to education in the rural areas also remains a problem.
About 50,000 students and 1,500 teachers should directly benefit from improved learning environments as a result of the project. Nationwide, more than 1 million students will benefit from an improved curriculum and better learning materials.
ADB's grant, which will finance 71% of the project's $21.85 million cost, comes from its concessional Asian Development Fund. The Government will shoulder the balance. The Ministry of Education is the executing agency for the project, which is due for completion in June 2011.