The World Bank announced on Friday the release of $30 million in fresh loans to Armenia that will be mostly spent on refurbishing high schools and facilitating children’s access to kindergartens in rural areas.
The bank also said that Armenian government will contribute $7.5 million of its own funds to the Education Improvement Project to be financed by the two low-interest loans repayable in 25 years.
“The project will support the improvement of school readiness for children entering primary education and the physical conditions in upper-secondary schools,” it said in a statement. “It will also promote greater links between higher education institutions and labor market in Armenia.”
In particular, said the statement, “17 high schools will be rehabilitated with enhanced construction and safety standards to benefit approximately 10,200 high school students in all regions.” “The rehabilitated high schools would provide more appropriate teaching and learning environments to the students,” it said.
The project is also aimed at improving school readiness among small children living in small towns and villages. “The project will address the readiness to school of over 12,000 five-year-old children living in rural impoverished areas that lack preschool services,” Cristian Aedo, a World Bank official in charge of the scheme, was quoted as saying.
The fresh loans highlight the World Bank’s status as Armenia’s leading foreign donor and creditor. The Washington-based institution has provided $1.8 billion worth of cheap credit and grants to the country since its independence.