MANILA, PHILIPPINES (9 July 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Qatar-based Education Above All (EAA) Foundation have signed an agreement to carry out $100 million in joint projects to put out-of-school and at-risk children into quality primary education.

Signing the 5-year agreement were Director General of ADB’s Strategy, Policy, and Partnerships Department Tomoyuki Kimura and Foundation Chief Executive Officer Fahad al Sulaiti at a special side event to the United Nations High Level Political Forum 2020.

“The two organizations will implement projects in up to 10 countries to ensure that at least 320,000 out-of-school children, including refugees and internally displaced children, realize their right to a quality primary education,” said Mr. Kimura.

Even before the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, there was a lack of financial resources to meet educational needs. In the wake of COVID-19, educational requirements are now competing with other critical needs for funds.

The side event brings together experts from around the world to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on education and reflect how they can collaborate, exchange critical information, mitigate the impact of the pandemic, and address the financial requirements to build resilience in the education system to future shocks. The event was organized by EAA, ADB, the State of Qatar, Qatar Fund for Development, and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development.

Many countries in the Asia and Pacific region have substantially improved access to schooling but student learning achievements have lagged behind. Attending school does not guarantee learning. When children do not learn at a desired pace, they will be at a high risk of dropping out and those that continue may leave school without adequate learning.

“It is not only important to bring school-age children particularly from disadvantaged groups to school, it is equally important to ensure that all of them complete school education with foundational skills,” said Chief of ADB’s Education Sector Group Brajesh Panth.

The 10 countries initially selected for projects are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

The two organizations will make available financing options for specific projects on the basis of joint cofinancing administered by ADB or parallel cofinancing where they will separately administer their funds in accordance with each own policies and procedures.

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.

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