MANILA, PHILIPPINES (7 July 2017) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Government of the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) have signed 3 grant agreements worth $16.8 million to improve the quality of basic education in the two Pacific island countries.
The agreements include $1.8 million in cofinancing from the Government of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and $1 million each in contribution from the Government’s of RMI and FSM, respectively.
The grants provided by ADB and the Government of Australia were signed at a ceremony in ADB’s headquarters in Manila by ADB’s Pacific Department Deputy Director General James Lynch, ADB Executive Director Mathew Fox, and ADB Development Advisor Jerry Nathan for ED Paul Dominguez (on behalf of the Governments of the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands).
“The project will improve primary school students’ learning with a focus on literacy and numeracy in these remote and dispersed island countries,” said Mr. Lynch at the signing ceremony. “Improving teacher preparedness, strengthening capacity to use student assessment to improve learning, boosting access to bilingual teaching resources, and parent and community engagement in education will be key activities.”
The project will be implemented using lessons learned from an ADB-supported Quality Primary Education in the North Pacific pilot project, financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction. Using alternative assessments to inform teaching and learning, in combination with bilingual resources for literacy and numeracy, are some of the lessons learned from the pilot that boosted learning outcomes in target schools.
Both FSM and RMI recognize the need to improve the quality of basic education. Student performance remains low with only 21% of sixth graders meeting or exceeding the minimum competency in mathematics and 32% meeting or exceeding the minimum competency in reading in the FSM. In RMI, 20% of sixth graders meet or exceed proficiency levels in mathematics while 19% meet or exceed proficiency levels in reading.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.