ADB and Sri Lanka Sign Loan Agreement to Improve Secondary Education

News Release | 1 December 2020

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, (1 December 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Sri Lanka today signed a $400 million loan agreement to support the country in transforming its secondary education system to align with the demand for highly skilled and agile workers who can compete in the rapidly changing global economy.

Secretary to the Ministry of Finance S. R. Attygalle signed the loan agreement for the Government of Sri Lanka and ADB Sri Lanka Resident Mission Country Director Chen Chen signed on behalf of ADB.

“We appreciate ADB’s support to Sri Lanka in meeting critical development needs while also assisting with the COVID-19 response program of the country,” said Mr. Attygalle.

“ADB has been a long-term and a committed partner in helping to improve and modernize the education sector in Sri Lanka,” said Secretary to the Ministry of Education Kapila Perera. “We acknowledge and appreciate ADB’s support in building a skilled labor force that can rise up to the challenges and opportunities posed by an advancing global economy and put Sri Lanka on a higher growth path”.

“ADB is pleased to partner with the government in its efforts to develop a knowledge-based economy and to address challenges facing the education sector in the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr. Chen. “The Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program aims to assist about 953,000 students annually, with skills that will benefit successive generations of students.”

The program will equip the young population with knowledge and skills in science, technology, mathematics, and commerce (STMC) streams, which are fields of high economic relevance for Sri Lanka. It will enhance readiness for further education in STMC fields and foster competencies for higher productivity and adaptability.

To achieve this, the program will reform the curricula, instruction, and assessment systems to focus on the practical application of knowledge and integrate cognitive and socio-emotional skills. The program also focuses on improving teaching quality and teacher training given the importance of quality of teaching and method of instruction on learning.  More than 47,000 upper secondary education teachers will be trained on inquiry-based and interactive learning approaches to increase student interest and engagement with subject content and inspire a love of learning.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.