OFID signs loan agreement to boost technical education in Sri Lanka


Dr Ranepura Hewage Samantha Samaratunga, Secretary to the Treasury,
Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Sri Lanka, and OFID Director-General Suleiman J Al-Herbish (right).

July 3, 2018, Vienna, Austria. OFID – the OPEC Fund for International Development – has signed a US$50 million public sector loan agreement with Sri Lanka to support the country’s Technological Education Development Program, which aims to improve the provision of technology disciplines in more than 300 secondary schools.

The agreement was signed by OFID Director-General Suleiman J Al-Herbish and Dr Ranepura Hewage Samantha Samaratunga, Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media.

At the signature ceremony, Al-Herbish said that quality education underpins progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which OFID has committed to. He also noted the loan agreement builds on a long-established partnership between OFID and Sri Lanka, which began over 40 years ago. OFID’s approvals to Sri Lanka total more than US$430 million across all of the organization’s lending windows. In addition, a number of national and regional grants have helped boost living standards and promote socioeconomic development.

Dr Samaratunga also described how OFID had been a strategically important partner of Sri Lanka for many years. He explained the importance of vocational training in science, technology, research and other areas in helping to boost Sri Lanka’s development

Sri Lanka’s educational program includes the construction of new buildings and the renovation of existing facilities, as well as upgrading/purchasing equipment. Also envisaged is a capacity-building component for teachers, education officers and curriculum developers. By helping develop pathways from secondary education to vocational training, the program is expected to boost youth employability in productive disciplines. It is expected that that circa 10,000 students per year will benefit from the program, as well as 1,600 administrators and teachers.