World Bank pledges $1 billion IDA loan for India's Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan-III

The new minister of human resources Smriti Irani got a billion dollar boost on the first day of her office with the World Bank signing a loan agreement to provide a little over $1 billion to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme being implemented by the human resource development ministry.

India on Thursday signed a loan agreement with the World Bank for $1006.20 million in IDA assistance for the third phase of its literacy programme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan- III.

Nilaya Mitash, joint secretary, Department of Economic Affairs and Michael Haney, World Bank's operation's advisor in India, signed the agreement that would make available $1,006.20 million in the form of credit under IDA 16, at a concessional rate, from the bank's soft lending window, International Development Assistance (IDA).

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the largest ongoing Education for All (EFA) programme in the world. It is the flagship programme for universalising elementary education. The overall goals of the programme include universal access and retention, reducing gender and social category gaps in elementary education and enhancement of learning levels of children.

The World Bank assistance to Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan-III will primarily focus on qualitative improvement in the learning process of the children, Nilaya Mitash, joint secretary (Multilateral Institutions) said on the occasion.

He said the project will also focus on children with special needs. This will also steer smooth and effective implementation of the whole Sarva Siksha Abhiyan project.

The objective of the project is to improve education outcomes of elementary school children in India. It will help in bringing qualitative improvements in the programme by leveraging the World Bank's global knowledge, according to an official release.

The project will directly benefit about 200 million children enrolled in elementary schools and 4.5 million teachers in the sector. The benefits of the project also include development of grade and subject specific learning indicators to measure children's progress in acquiring expected knowledge and skills at different grade level. It will also strengthen monitoring and evaluation for teachers' accountability, it added.

The ministry of human resource development is the implementing agency for the project to be implemented in 3 years.