Date to Sign Agreement with WB on Last Privilege Loan to Reform Azerbaijan’s Education System Set

Azerbaijan, Baku, 20 September / Trend corr. I. Khalilova /The Azerbaijani Government and World Bank (WB) plan to sign a loan agreement on 24 September. The agreement covers the education system reform project, the WB Baku Office said. Misir Mardanov, Azerbaijani Education Minister, and Gregori Yedjeychak, WB representative in Azerbaijan, are expected to sign the document.

The sum of credit remained unchanged - $25mln (it will be allotted by International Development Association for 35 years for privileged period of 10 years under 0.75% interest rate), but the total cost of the project is $45.4mln. The remaining funds will be paid by Azerbaijani Government and through the grant of UNICEF.

The project will cover reforms in secondary, pre-school and vocational education - assistance in application of new curriculum, upgrading teacher qualification improvement system, introduction of new culture in educational practice and support efforts for preparing children aged 5-6 to school.

Moreover, assistance to the libraries of 500 schools in Azerbaijan is also envisaged.

That will be WB's last soft credit intended for reforming the educational system in Azerbaijan. As in the 2008 fiscal year, the quota for soft financing in the education field will expire; the credit for improvement of the reforms in the higher education may be allocated only through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. A special project is being developed in this connection.

The Education Sector Development Project for Azerbaijan is committed to sector reforms in the education sector based on the Education Reform Program of 1999. The purpose of the reform program is to address key sector issues, some of which need to be prioritized on the basis of additional analytical work, to improve the quality of education, as well as to coordinate the entire sector. The total cost of the project is $20.99mln, including $18mln WB credit. It was approved by the Board of Directors on 27 May 2003. The first credit of $5mln was allotted in 1999.

The strategy of the education reform system of Azerbaijan is $250mln.

Azerbaijan joined WB in 1992.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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