US $ 100 m ADB loan to revamp technical education Plan

02 APR: The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors approved a $ 100 million loan to help the Sri Lankan government revamp its Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) which will equip youth with skills for the job market.

The program will support the government’s skills sector development program which aims to improve the employability of youth.

“This program will help reduce the significant mismatch that exists between the competencies of graduates and labour market demand, which has left youth unemployment very high at 17.3 percent,” said ADB’s South Asia Department Human and Social Development Director Sungsup Ra.

The skills mismatch has become even more evident during the recent period of economic growth as both education and TVET systems have not been able to adapt to the rapid labor market shifts.

Private sector employers often cite lack of skilled workers matching their needs. Under the new program, the government will introduce a targeted stipend scheme for disadvantaged groups including the poor, women, school drop-outs to increase their participation in skills training in skill shortage areas.

Though a large number of women are enrolled for training in traditionally female occupations, women’s participation is low at around 26 percent in technology-related courses that would lead to higher-paying jobs. The program aims to increase women’s participation in TVET and improve their rates of employment, especially in the four priority sectors of construction, tourism, information technology, and manufacturing.

The loan marks the second results-based lending (RBL) program approved by ADB, which links loan payments to the achievement of goals. As a prerequisite of RBL, the government adopted a sector results framework and a medium term expenditure framework with which relevant development partner support can be aligned.

RBL will help the government prioritise actions that are contributing most to the goal of youth employability. ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.

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