WASHINGTON, June 11, 2021 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $60 million to improve the quality of Nepal’s higher education, scale up online learning, and expand access to academic institutions for underprivileged and vulnerable students.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of building back better and prioritizing human capital development,” stated Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “Improving access to quality higher education and helping students acquire the skills that are in demand in the labor market will contribute to Nepal’s COVID-19 recovery and strengthen its resilience.”
The Nurturing Excellence in Higher Education Program builds on Nepal’s previous successful higher education projects supported through results-based financing. It will help the government of Nepal align its higher education sector with labor market needs, boost collaborative research and entrepreneurship, improve governance, and access to quality higher education, especially for disadvantaged students. The COVID-19 pandemic has created strong incentives to expand online platforms and blended learning, which the program will help scale up across Nepal’s universities.
“A key priority of the program is to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged students, including those facing economic hardship due to COVID-19,” stated Mohan Aryal, World Bank’s Program Task Team Leader. “The program will expand targeted scholarships to help disadvantaged students pursue labor market-driven academic programs and support equity grants to higher education institutions in needy and disaster-affected areas in Nepal.”
The World Bank, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes $12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments, and strengthen vaccination systems. The financing builds on the broader World Bank Group COVID-19 response, which is helping more than 100 countries strengthen health systems, support the poorest households, and create supportive conditions to maintain livelihoods and jobs for those hit hardest.