MANILA, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a 300-million-U.S. dollar loan to support the Philippine government's efforts to achieve inclusive growth by improving access to high-quality secondary education that responds to labor market needs, the Manila-based bank said on Monday.
The bank said the secondary education support program will benefit about 10.6 million students nationwide currently enrolled in high school and an additional 2 million grade seven entrants yearly from 2019 to 2023.
Moreover, it said the program will help the country boost job opportunities and substantially reduce poverty. The Philippine government has set a target of lowering poverty to 14 percent by 2022 from the current 21 percent.
"Sustaining the Philippines' strong growth momentum will require a workforce equipped with the appropriate set of advanced skills and knowledge to allow them to keep in step with the rapid technological changes in the global economy," ADB Senior Education Specialist for Southeast Asia Lynnette Perez said.
She added, "continued investments in high-quality education are crucial to attaining the government's vision of lowering unemployment and poverty rates."
While reforms in the Philippine secondary education system have shown progress, ADB said enrollment and graduation rates remain low, especially among students from the poorest households.
The results-based secondary education support program will help the government sustain its reforms, particularly in offering the poor greater access to better, affordable education, ADB said, adding it will disburse funds to the government based on the achievement of agreed reform targets within a specific period.
ADB said the program seeks to improve the performance of students in the national achievement test and the national certificate assessment for senior high school technical-vocational-livelihood track specialization.
"It will also help strengthen the secondary education curriculum and increase teacher proficiency and career development," ADB added.
ADB said nearly 294,000 public secondary education teachers, and additional teachers to be hired until 2023, stand to benefit from improved teaching practices, which will lead to better learning outcomes.