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Human Development

Over the past decade Albania has experienced expansionary as well as recessive economic trends, accompanied by changes in education, healthcare and social protection systems; during which time the World Bank provided support for improvement in the previously mentioned fields. The country program under the Human Development umbrella attempts to address the myriad of challenges that touch on the fundamental aspects of human capital development and households well-being.

An education trend during the transition consisted of a decline in gross enrollment rates for basic and secondary education. Overall basic education enrollments declined from over 90 percent prior to the transition to 88 percent in 1997. Secondary enrollment rates in 1989 were 79 percent, and they fell to roughly 40 percent by 1997. Albania, however, has joined the Education for All (EFA) Fast Track Initiative, being one of the 18 countries invited. Bank interventions in the education sector are grounded in a comprehensive education sector review. Albania's Education Sector: Problems and Promises (2000). The ongoing Education Reform Project (2000) aims to improve the capacity of the Ministry of Education and Science (MOES) to plan and manage the delivery of education services. The MOES is a pilot ministry for civil service reform, supported by the ongoing Public Administration Reform Project. Crucial reforms for improving planning and management and increasing the access of the poor to quality education are also supported by the PRSC program.

The Bank is helping the government translate its health goals into actions that protect the basic health needs of the most vulnerable population. Although Albania entered the transition with a relatively healthy population, life expectancy has since fallen, and infant and under-five mortality rates remain relatively high, especially in rural areas. The ongoing Health Recovery and Development Project (1998) is focused on the secondary and tertiary health care systems, while being adjusted during implementation to better align the project with National Strategy for Socio-Economic Development (NSSED) priorities.

The World Bank supports the government's efforts to create a fiscally sustainable social protection system that effectively targets the poor and vulnerable. The government's comprehensive pension reform program aims to create an affordable and equitable pension system while reducing reliance on budget subsidies. The PRSCs support the implementation of Albania's pension reform package, as well as improved targeting of cash economic assistance (ndihme ekonomike). The Bank also supports the government's development of a sustainable framework for community-based social services, which are primarily being developed under the ongoing Social Service Delivery Project (2001).

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