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World Bank Launches $500m Program To Support Early Education In Morocco

The World Bank announced a new US$500 million program in support of Morocco’s goals of expanding access to quality preprimary education, significantly enhancing teachers’ skills and competencies, and strengthening the governance of the sector. Building on the government’s 2015–2030 Education Sector Vision, the new Morocco Education Support Program will act on key elements of the vision to drive the sector’s transformation and boost human capital for every Moroccan child.

In less than 20 years, the country achieved universal access to education for girls and boys, a notable MDG achievement. However, learning outcomes have remained stubbornly modest” said Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “This new Program intends to promote a more efficient education sector by supporting access to quality preprimary education for all, investing in quality training for teachers and supporting a local-level approach to address education quality challenges and school-level leadership. This approach, based on best practices, is meant to support a paradigm shift in the sector to drive its transformation and build the country’s future human capital”.

Despite universal primary access, in 2017, only 50 percent of children aged 4 and 5 attended preprimary education. As a condition for learning preparedness, access to quality early childhood education (ECE) is a major focus of the current program. Through targeted interventions, the program aims to establish an enabling environment for quality ECE service delivery, based on the government’s program to universalize preprimary education by 2027. Moreover, the program will support an ambitious reform agenda to ensure that teachers are adequately trained and supported throughout their career, which will lead to a stronger teaching profession, a crucial element to improve learning outcomes.

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Improving the performance and efficiency of the education system to produce better learning outcomes requires a deep transformation of its governance. Building on the strategic vision of the Ministry of Education, the program will help strengthen the education sector’s management capabilities and accountability along the education service delivery chain. As such, it will promote a stronger focus on results through the implementation of performance contracts by the regional and provincial directorates affiliated to the ministry, including the Regional Education Academies (AREFs). The Program will also support adaptative, and locally-tailored approaches to improve school-level delivery by supporting school principals not only to develop the school improvement plan in a participatory approach, but also to implement them. Along with the performance contracts, a monitoring and evaluation mechanism will track progress toward milestones identified within the Program.

According to the project Task Team Leaders, Fadila Caillaud, Program Leader for Human Development and Anne-Lucie Lefebvre, Senior Public Sector Specialist, the current program is based on the government’s vision to lay the foundations of a “new Moroccan school”, one in which children are ready to learn, teachers are better prepared to teach, and the system as a whole is more efficient at supporting the teaching and learning processes. The current Program builds on the regionalization agenda to give education service providers, including AREFS, Provincial Directorates and schools, greater capacity and accountability to manage the challenge of significantly improving learning outcomes for all Moroccan children.

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