3.6.3 Multilateral and bilateral development agencies

Assistance from multilateral and regional development agencies can help with the costs of school connectivity.   Institutions such as The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank can provide funding, as can bilateral aid agencies from developed countries.

Funding is often in the form of loans covering an overall education reform project, of which school connectivity is one component.  There are also cases where grants are provided, typically for pilot projects. The variety of projects, regions and lenders suggests that countries with a feasible and sustainable school connectivity plan might find support from these agencies.

Examples of multilateral assistance include:

  • The World Bank has funded education projects throughout the developing world, including those with ICT components.  In Jordan, the Education Reform for Knowledge Economy project supports the creation of computer labs in schools, including the provision of Internet access.83 The Bank’s largest ICT for education project is in Russia, which has “substantially increased technology infrastructure both at the central/federal level of education system and at the regional/local level, and by this provided greater physical access to technology for users from distantly located/rural areas.” 84 The World Bank also instigated the World Links project, which helped with school connectivity in some developing countries and was later spun-off as an independent, not-for-profit organization.85
  • The Asian Development Bank helped to fund the Sri Lanka Secondary Education Modernization Project, which ran from 2000 to 2007.86  The project included a component for creating over 1,000 "computer learning centres" in secondary schools.  The centres include Internet access.87
  • The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has a long history of supporting school connectivity in Latin America and the Caribbean.  It has provided assistance for various school connectivity projects in countries such as Argentina, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Trinidad and Tobago.88  Along with the Caribbean Development Bank, the ADB provided funding for the Barbados Education Sector Enhancement Programme (EduTech), which led to Internet access for all primary and secondary schools.89 In addition, the IDB is assisting with funding of several school computer programs that have a connectivity component.  In Haiti, the One Laptop per Child Model Project includes funding for connectivity.  Likewise, a pilot project for Paraguay includes a connectivity component featuring two-Mbps Internet access at 10 schools and underwriting of associated cabling, routing and maintenance costs.

Examples of bi-lateral funding include:

  • The Japanese government has provided assistance to the ASEAN SchoolNet project, which supports pilot school connectivity projects in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam.90
  • The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) has provided ongoing financial assistance to Namibia’s SchoolNet project, which provides Internet access to schools.  SIDA has contributed close to NAD 23 million (USD 2.9 million) since mid-2001.91
  • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided assistance to school connectivity projects around the world.  For example, it helped fund the Macedonia Connects program, which led to the provision of wireless broadband access to all of that country’s primary and secondary schools.92 It also helped with financing of a high school connectivity project in Yemen, with a focus on girls’ access to ICTs.93