ADB Provides More Than $65 Million for Reform of Nepal's Schools

KATHMANDU, NEPAL – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a policy-based grant for the School Sector Program which supports the Government of Nepal’s ongoing education reform initiatives with a stronger focus on gender, social inclusion, and quality.

The ADB Board of Directors approved grant finance totaling $65 million from the Asian Development Fund and a Technical Assistance Special Fund grant of $500,000 for the program.

“The program will go beyond providing critical inputs like school buildings and textbooks to address all the various components that make an education system work such as quality, policy reforms, incentives, safety issues, management, and governance,” said Sungsup Ra, Director of ADB’s South Asia Human and Social Development Division.

“The program will also strongly focus on equitable access and quality education, and make a concerted effort to reach out-of-school children, especially girls, from vulnerable and disadvantaged groups,” added Mr. Ra.

The program has an innovative approach to improve the safety of school buildings which are susceptible to natural hazards. It will also strengthen the institutional capacity of government agencies to implement the program effectively, mitigate fiduciary risks, and strengthen monitoring and evaluation systems.

“Nepal has been able to undertake a series of ground breaking reforms in school education, and impressive progress has been made in recent years, particularly with regards to access to education,” said Barry J. Hitchcock, ADB Country Director for Nepal. “However, the school sector still faces continuing challenges. Through the implementation of the program, Nepal's education system will be in a better position to provide fair, inclusive, and effective education”, added Mr. Hitchcock.

The program is a follow-on to the ongoing Education Sector Program, subprogram III, which supports the Government of Nepal's 7-year (FY2010–FY2016) School Sector Reform Program (SSRP). The SSRP is supported by ADB and eight other development partners - Australia, Denmark, European Union, Finland, Norway, UNICEF, United Kingdom and World Bank - using the sector-wide approach. The Government of Australia is also expected to provide additional grant cofinancing for capacity development technical assistance to help build safer schools.