ADB, Government Sign $200 Million Loan to Help Schools Build Skills for Jobs

News Release | 21 August 2013

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Sri Lanka Country Director, Rita O’Sullivan, and Secretary to the Treasury and Alternate Governor for Sri Lanka in ADB, P. B. Jayasundera, have signed an agreement for a $200 million loan to help the Government of Sri Lanka revamp its secondary school system to cut youth unemployment and meet the country’s urgent need for a skilled workforce.

The loan marks the first results-based lending program approved by ADB. Loan payments will be linked to the achievement of goals such as the rollout of a full curriculum in schools, implementation of a technology stream, and training principal teachers. The program supports the Government of Sri Lanka’s Education Sector Development Framework and Program for 2013-2017.

"Effective schools with competent teachers and good facilities are critical for young people to learn the skills they need to find good jobs once they graduate and, in doing so, to contribute to economic growth in Sri Lanka," said Ms. O' Sullivan.

Under the Education Sector Development Program, ADB’s loan will finance the development of a national student assessment framework, which integrates school assessments with external exams to improve pass rates, and supports the introduction of technology classes to allow secondary school graduates to move more easily into vocational courses.

School facilities will be upgraded and training and placement of teachers carried out to raise the number and enhance the capabilities of students studying science and commerce. School principals and education agency staff will receive training to improve school leadership, management, and planning, and a financing facility will be developed to ensure that upgraded equipment and facilities are properly maintained.