Japan provides 4 Million US Dollars as Education Sector Pool Fund

On 28th March 2012 the Government of Japan and the Government of Zambia signed Exchange of Notes for the grant aid for Poverty Reduction Strategy, otherwise known as the “PRS” Grant, for education sector pool fund.

The Government of Japan decided to contribute the grant of 300 million Yen, or approximately 4 million US dollars, to the educational sector pool fund, with a view to fostering quality education and ensuring that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in this sector are achieved.  The grant is indeed epoch-making, for it is the first time that the Government of Japan makes contribution to a common or pool fund in Zambia in terms funding modality. It is also the very first contribution made by the Government of Japan to education sector pool funding in Africa.

The Government of Japan considers Zambia to be a model country in Africa in the context of development assistance in the education sector and hopes that development outcome be maximized through utilization of the new PRS Grant and the ongoing Japanese assistance programs in the education sector in a strategically coordinated way.  

Japan and Zambia have had a longstanding history of cooperation in the education sector. Since 1998, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has dispatched quite a number of Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers to work as teachers, especially, in mathematics and science. Later between 1998 and 2005, 18 schools, worth about 32 million United States dollars, were built through Japan’s grant assistance.

In 2005, JICA’s technical cooperation project for the Strengthening of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (SMASTE), was launched in Central Province. Later, SMASTE was expanded in phase two to include Copperbelt and Northwestern Provinces, thus catering for over 14,000 teachers. Unrelenting efforts by the Government of Zambia in upgrading the quality of education in Zambia led to the implementation of SMASTE phase three in 2011, under the new name of STEPS, which stands for Strengthening Teacher’s Performance and Skills through School-Based Continuing Professional Development. Under STEPS, the target area will expand to cover all the provinces so that it will benefit more than 72,000 teachers all over the country.

Last year, the Zambian Government requested Japan to dispatch an educational advisor to the Ministry of Education with a view to developing strategies aimed at tackling various challenges faced with the education sector. The Japanese advisor is expected to be in the country soon, and it is thus an opportune time for both Governments to embark on a new funding modality for cooperation.

Japan will strengthen its partnership with African countries under the framework of TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development). Japan is committed to continued cooperation with Zambia in such sectors as education, agriculture and manufacturing industries, and energy and other economic and social infrastructure.

Education is a key to economic and social development. Japan has learned this in its history of nation building and modernization. It is hoped that this PRS Grant will bring about significant improvement of education in Zambia, thereby enhancing the country’s overall economic and social development. The provision of this grant will also strengthen the friendship and cooperation between Japan and Zambia.

To read Ambasador's speech at the reception, please click here.

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