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Thursday, 27 June 2013
Page: 7324

Sri Lanka: Education Funding

(Question No. 1519)

Mr Fletcher asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, in writing, on 27 May 2013:

In respect of the $34.35 million provided for education in Sri Lanka:

(a) what measures has the Australian Government taken to ensure equal distribution of funds to every citizen of Sri Lanka, and what accountability measures are in place to ensure the funds are used appropriately, and

(b) what part of this funding has been allocated to the Northern and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka, and how will it be allocated in these areas.

Mr Marles: On behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a) This support is provided by AusAID through a World Bank project - the Transforming School Education Project (TSEP). The project funds improvements to primary and secondary education in state schools throughout Sri Lanka and supports the implementation of the Government of Sri Lanka's education sector plan. Over the life of the four-year project it is expected that 4 million Sri Lankan students and 250,000 teachers will benefit from TSEP.

The program is not designed to provide equal distribution to every citizen of Sri Lanka but to provide extra support where it is needed. A formula, which includes factors such as poverty indicators and population distribution, is used to determine how much funding goes to each province under TSEP. This is to ensure the project gives appropriate attention to schools with the greatest needs.

The World Bank ensures funding provided under TSEP is used appropriately by undertaking regular project supervision and the ongoing application of its safeguards to guard against fraud and other potential risks to the project.

(b) AusAID estimates that out of a total project budget of $134 million about $34.4 million (or 25.7 per cent) will benefit school students in the Eastern and Northern provinces of Sri Lanka. This means that one-quarter of the project is focused on the two poorest provinces in Sri Lanka.

TSEP allocates funds in accordance with provincial education action plans. These plans must be in line with the Sri Lankan Government's national education sector plan that aims to improve access and quality and strengthen governance across the nation's school system.