WB, Azerbaijan to Sign Last Soft Loan Agreement on Reforms in Education System

Business Materials 11 September 2008 14:00 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 11 September/ Trend , I. Khalilova/ The Azerbaijani government and World Bank are going to sign a loan agreement in second half of September on the project of reforms in education system, Baku Office of the Bank said. Misir Mardanov, minister of education will sign the agreement from Azerbaijani side.

The project costs $45.4mln, $25mln of which accounts for WB. The loan is granted through International Development Association (for 35 years with grace period of 10 years and 0.75% interest rate). The remaining part will be paid by the share of Azerbaijani government and UNICEF grant.

The project calls for reforms in secondary education, pre-school education and vocational training. The loan aims at supporting introduction of new curriculums, improving skills of teachers, introducing new culture in education practice, and support for efforts for pre-schools education of 5-6-year old children, increase potential of administrators and policy of reforms.

The project also includes rendering support for 500 schools in Azerbaijan.

This will be last soft loan for reforms in education system in Azerbaijan. As quotas for soft loans in 2008 financial year has expired, loans for improving reforms in the sphere of higher education can only be granted only under terms of International Bank of Reconstruction and Development. A new project is being worked out in this sphere.

The current project of development education system focuses on reforms in different spheres based on reform program in education system functioning since 1999. The program aims at improving quality of education sphere as a whole. Total cost of the project is $20.99mln, $18mln of which accounts for WB loan. It was approved in the Board of Directors of the Bank on 27 May 2003. First loan worth $5mln was granted by the Bank in 1999.

Strategy of reforms in education system of Azerbaijan is evaluated at $520mln.

Azerbaijan is the member of WB since 1992.

The official exchange rate for 11 September is 0.8159 AZN/USD.

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