PH borrows another $810M from WB


imagePH on the way to recovery, say economists

The World Bank loan aimed to mitigate these challenges to recovery, specifically by: lowering trade cost and ease of doing business; expanding fixed broadband infrastructure; assisting rice farmers to become more productive; opening the retail sector to foreign investment; enhancing fiscal, social, and financial resilience to shocks through simplifying tax incentives; strengthening risk management of payment systems; scaling the national ID registration system; and improving the financial risk management to natural disasters and climate change, it said.

But the World Bank said risks arose from “high degree of uncertainty on the duration and depth of the COVID-19 pandemic” plus next year’s presidential election.

“The macroeconomic risk is substantial given the risk of a prolonged COVID-19 outbreak that may result in a deeper recession, pushing more people into poverty, and diverting attention away from structural and long-term reforms, which may affect the achievement of the project development objectives.In addition, the political economy and governance risks can stall the reforms’ momentum, as political transition following the 2022 general election can affect the pace of structural reforms,” the World Bank said.Equitable access

Meanwhile, the World Bank’s financing for the Department of Education’s (DepEd) $120-million teacher effectiveness and competencies enhancement project was aimed at “improving the quality of and equitable access to teaching in Kindergarten to Grade 6 in project-supported regions.”

“With school closures for several months and no [in-person] classes throughout the school year 2020-2021, students’ learning opportunities have been compromised with a wider disparity among students.The damage will likely become even more severe as the deep global recession following the COVID-19 pandemic leads to an economic crisis, which will cause hardships among many disadvantaged families, and lead to children dropping out of school,” the World Bank said.

Also, the World Bank pointed to “limited improvement in national and international student assessments results” such as DepEd-administered national achievement test as well as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018 and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in 2019.

“These challenges in foundational skills start at early grades.By the end of Grade 3, the majority of students are fairly proficient in Filipino attaining both the fluency and untimed reading comprehension benchmarks set by DepEd, but a significant proportion of students do not demonstrate that they understand what they read in English.The weak proficiency in English considerably constrains students’ learning ability in all subjects in later grades,” the World Bank said.ADVERTISEMENT

As such, the new loan to be extended to DepEd would specifically support improvement of teaching practices through an enhanced coaching program, as well as provide adequate and effective learning and teaching resources, especially in war-torn Mindanao.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has undermined the progress made in recent years in improving access to and quality of basic education, but the Philippines can use the opportunity to address the short-term challenges of COVID-19 and at the same time re-orient the system to focus on improving learning outcomes,” the World Bank said.

Also, as the Inquirer earlier reported, the World Bank loan for the DepEd’s $110-million strengthening alternative learning system for all project would “improve service delivery of the Alternative Learning System and learners’ outcomes in selected community learning centers.” Read Next .

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