The World Bank (WB) has approved a $100 million soft loan to support the Government’s plan to improve the quality of education. It also aims to enroll Lebanese and Syrian refugee children in schools by the end of next year, said the WB’s President, Jim Yong Kim.
This was an exceptional arrangement, as the financing terms had been previously reserved only for low-income countries, the WB said in a statement. The move is part of the WB’s efforts to increase its assistance to Lebanon and Jordan for their generosity in hosting Syrian refugees.
“The funds will help improve the quality of Lebanon’s stressed public education system, as well as to expand access to all Syrian children between ages 3-18,” the WB said. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education enrolled more than 200,000 Syrian children for the 2015-2016 school year, but an equal number of Syrian children are not going to school. Local schools have resorted to double-shifts of classes to accommodate demand.
“Lebanon needs the resources to expand health, education, and safety nets services, and its municipalities need help to cope with the stress caused by the influx of a million and half refugees. Lebanon and its leaders can count on the World Bank's support and cooperation,” Kim said in the statement.
The WB said earlier that it will triple its investment in the MENA region. Funding from the New Financing Initiative to Support the region combined with current programs is expected to reach $20 billion over the coming five years.