The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors have approved 500 million U.S. dollars credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, to improve secondary education in Tanzania.

A statement issued by the World Bank on Tuesday night said the new financing will enable millions of young Tanzanians to access and complete secondary education in safer and better learning environments. The statement said the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQUIP) will directly benefit about 6.5 million secondary school students by strengthening government-run schools and establishing stronger educational pathways for students who leave the formal school system.

“SEQUIP uses a disbursement mechanism that is phased and releases funds in tranches only when previously agreed results have been achieved,” said the statement, adding that these included increasing access to schools, improving education quality for all public secondary education options, and supporting more children to re-enter the formal public system if they drop out. “Every child in Tanzania deserves a good education, but thousands are denied this life-changing opportunity each year,” said Mara Warwick, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania. “This is an important step in addressing the challenges that Tanzania’s children face throughout their education. The World Bank will continue our dialogue with the government on broader issues concerning equal treatment of schoolchildren,” she said.

Tanzania’s free basic education policy has led to more children entering school, with primary enrollment rising from 8.3 million to 10.1 million between 2015 and 2018, while secondary enrollment increased from 1.8 million to 2.2 million, said the statement. The statement said despite better access, the secondary education system suffers from low quality and high dropout rates. Nearly 60,000 students fail to complete their schooling each year and children are not learning enough, particularly in mathematics and science, due to a lack of skilled and motivated teachers, large class sizes, and a poor learning environment, it said.

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