Jaime Saavedra is World Bank Senior Director for Education Global Practice. He further noted that President Bio’s flagship Free Quality Education Program is a very important initiative and that the World Bank is supportive of the policy to provide quality education for all.
It could be recalled that Director Jaime Saavedra made three-day visitation to Sierra Leone recently, with the objective to reinforce the Bank’s commitment to supporting the country increase access to quality education in early childhood, primary and secondary education and to discuss government’s financing policy for education and skills development and the implementation of the Human Capital Project.
He reiterated that the World Bank is willing to support President Bio’s government education agenda and that they are committing about $40 million United States Dollars towards education in Sierra Leone.
He added that the initial ten million Dollars was allocated in December 2017 for basic education and that in September 2018 the World Bank would approve $20 million for technical education.
He noted that it was good that government was committing twenty percent budget into the initiative.
He disclosed that the World Bank together with the leadership of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance, will prepare a new project Focusing Resources on Equity and Excellence in Education Project (FREE Education) to support the government flagship program to provide Free Quality Education.
The World Bank representative said the project will use the new multi-phase approach lending instrument of the World Bank, which allows for a longer-term engagement support by the World Bank in the education sector.
He said the World Bank commends the government for prioritizing education investments including the commitment to allocate 20 percent of the budget to education sector, adding that the huge commitment is commendable given the large education agenda in the country.
Jaime Saavedra further noted that the World Bank has completed the appraisal of the Skills Development Project for a $20 million project to increase access to demand-led skills training and build the foundations for a demand-led skills development system in Sierra Leone.
According to him, the project includes the establishment of a Skills Development Fund (SDF) that will support training institutions and enterprises to obtain resources to delivery technical vocational training and skills in both the formal and non-formal sectors.
He said the project will support training and skills development in productive sectors of the economy including agriculture, fisheries, tourism and mining, adding that the project is expected to be established by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Technical Higher Education in October 2018.