A meeting was held between Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Education and the Country Director of the World Bank, Naoko Ishii, on October 02 at the Ministry of Education to negotiate for continuation of assistance to the Education Sector Development Framework and Programme (ESDFP).
The Ministry of Education requested further assistance from the World Bank to scale up support for the activities that will promote multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society and for the rehabilitation and development of the education in conflict affected areas.
Ariyaratne Hewage, Secretary to the Ministry of Education, and Dr. Harsha Aturupane, Senior Economist of the World Bank also took part at this meeting. The World Bank commended the Ministry of Education for the successful implementation of the ESDFP.
In Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Education is the first ministry which took action to develop and implement an Education Sector Development Framework and Programme (ESDFP) following the Sector-Wide Approach (SWAP) and that aims to improve the quality of education, the educational results and studentsâ€™ learning outcomes. The World Bank, is assisting financially the ESDFP through programmatic budget support approach.
The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Provincial Authorities will work out a comprehensive programme during the negotiations for the additional financing from the World Bank.
This programme will specifically focus on improving curriculum and textbooks, promotion of English as a link language, promotion of second national languages (Sinhalese students are taught Tamil and Tamil students are taught Sinhala), improving cultural, ethnic and religious sensitivity of teachers, promotion of interactive activities through co-curricular and extra-curricular activities between students of Northern and Eastern Provinces and rest of the provinces in the country.
Special reference will be given to children of internally displaced families, to widen the non-formal and catch-up education as well. Further, extending ICT education and school libraries will also be given a major focus.
Premajayantha said that the Ministry of Education has already taken some rigorous actions to fill the teacher vacancies in the plantation sector as well as in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and relevant steps will be taken to strengthen human capacity of the system.
Hewage, Secretary to the Ministry of Education said the Ministry has been able to invite all donors to support the ESDFP and that the Ministry is introducing a result-based management approach as well. He thanked the World Bank for the immense support extended through previous projects and through programmatic approach to the ESDFP.