Washington: In a bid to make quality education accessible to young people at the secondary level, the World Bank on Friday approved a USD 500 million credit to support India's secondary education project.
    
The project will support all activities as envisioned in the USD 12.9 billion Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) programme, a flagship Government of India programme for gradual universalisation of secondary education.
    
The Project would be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank's concessionary lending arm – which provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years, World Bank said in a statement.
    
Roberto Zagha, World Bank Country Director for India, said, "RMSA is a young programme which is expected to grow rapidly and hence it is an opportunity for the World Bank to support the Government of India in building effective systems as the Programme expands while improving quality."
    
Under the RMSA programme, expansion, repair and renovation will take place in some 60,000 existing government secondary schools; some 44,000 upper primary schools will be upgraded to secondary schools; and about 11,000 new secondary and senior secondary schools will come up mainly in underserved areas.
    
"...the skills and knowledge requirements of the labour force in a globalised economy requires high quality secondary graduates. This necessitates revamping the secondary education system in India," Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance said.
    
Net elementary enrollment rate in India stands at 96 percent and girls are almost equally represented in elementary education as boys.
    
However, attention is needed for secondary education where the gross enrollment rate stands at about 50 percent and quality of education is very low. Besides, it is also not affordable for poor households, the statement added.
    
Besides, most of the economic and employment growth in India is taking place in skilled services like information technology, financial services, telecommunications and skill-intensive manufacturing, all of which require, at a minimum, a secondary education degree, it said.

(Agencies)