LAHORE - The World Bank (WB) has highly commended the Punjab Education Development Programme introduced by the provincial government under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif and agreed to provide US $ 350 million during the next three years. The agreement to this effect was reached in a high level meeting between the representatives of the World Bank and delegation of Punjab government comprising Secretary (School) Education Nadeem Ashraf, special secretary finance and member (SS) Planning and Development (P&D) Department. During the meeting, the result-oriented initiatives taken by the Punjab government for the uplift of education sector were highlighted. It was noted that in addition to the measures for promoting education, the Punjab Government had also introduced a number of initiatives as directed by the chief minister to ensure universality as well as quality of education. These interventions include provision of missing facilities, establishment of IT computer labs in high/higher secondary schools, merit based recruitment of 34,000 teachers, grant of performance based allowance to teachers, comprehensive training programme for education managers and empowerment of school councils and school heads as well as massive Universal Primary Enrolment Campaign. The WB representatives expressed satisfaction over the high priority being attached to the sector and agreed to lend its support. The financial assistance will be utilised for the implementing second-generation reforms in the education sector. It is pertinent to mention that the proposed project is based on improved quality of education, access and equity, governance, management and monitoring and enhanced education sector expenditures as well as improved overall environment. Meanwhile, DFID (Department for International Development), an agency of United Kingdom that provides assistance around the globe, is also expected to grant an additional support of US$ 120 million shortly. Final Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is expected to be signed in this regard on June 5, 2009.