ADF grants Eritrea US $27 mln loan to improve education
Nov 04 (IRIN) - Eritrea's education system is to undergo a US $27 million
transformation to improve access to schools and boost quality. The government
is planning to construct 349 new classrooms in 60 schools and equip science
labs with funds received from the African Development Fund (ADF).
Computer equipment and reference
libraries are also to be established in schools around the country, said the
ADF on Wednesday. It is providing 90 percent of the funding for the projects in
the shape of loans and grants, a statement issued from Tunis, Tunisia said.
According to the ADF, the four and
a half year project, which will begin in January 2005 and will be partly funded
by the Eritrean government, focuses on three core areas. It aims to improve
access to quality basic education, improve access to quality secondary
education and build the capacity of the education system.
According to the UN Children's Fund
(UNICEF), less than half of women and only two thirds of men can read or write.
A little over half of children attend school and one in five girls ever make it
into secondary schools, UNICEF said in its 2004 State of the World's Children
Eritrea is also one of 25 countries
to be targeted in a major initiative aimed at getting girls into schools by
UNICEF. The UN agency is trying to bridge the "education gap for
girls" and focus on countries where girls are furthest behind.
In 2003, the Eritrean government
spent seven percent of its budget on education, according to a report to the UN
Committee on the Rights of the Child. Eritrea's Labour Minister Askalu
Menkorios said in the report that the number of teachers and children in
schools had doubled over the last decade.
The country has also launched a new school curriculum that
met with international standards and was aimed at boosting productivity.