World Banks provides $25 million for schools

(posted Jan. 17, 11:20 p.m.) - The World Bank Board of Directors yesterday approved a new $25 million initiative that seeks to benefit children in Nicaragua’s priority areas, including the Caribbean coast.

The loan, provided under the title the “Second Educational Sector Support Project (PASEN II),” will mostly benefit 219,527 primary school students and 80,000 children currently outside the educational system, as well as 250,000 people in priority municipalities.

The project supports the efforts by Nicaragua’s Ministry of Education, which has made the completion of sixth grade a key priority in Nicaragua, where less than 75% of all children finish primary school.

The World Bank project will be implemented in 40 municipalities in the departments of Chontales, Jinotega, Madriz, Nueva Segovia, Matagalpa, Rio San Juan and the North Atlantic (RAAN) and South Atlantic (RAAS) Autonomous Regions.

Schoolchildren will receive textbooks, notebooks, math study guides, and learning and reading materials to create small school libraries. Furthermore, indigenous groups whose first language is not Spanish will receive bilingual and monolingual textbooks in one of six languages: Miskitu, Panamahka, Ulwa, Tuahka, Creole and English.

“This Project will allow us to raise student retention rates in the first four years of primary school, restoring the rights of the poorest families with the delivery of 50,000 Solidarity Packages, consisting of a backpack with school materials and shoes,” said Miriam Raudez, Nicaragua’s Education Minister.

Another project component is the implementation of a teacher training program on learning techniques in multi-grade schools and bilingual education, which will benefit approximately 8,703 teachers in priority municipalities.

“The Project will allow primary school teachers to access significant training resources, helping them in their professional development and raising the technical quality of education,” said Camille Nuamah, World Bank Resident Representative in Nicaragua.

With this project, the Ministry of Education (MINED) will strengthen its educational management capacity via the development of a new planning, monitoring and statistical system that includes all of MINED’s current IT systems, through a telecommunication system using the Voice Over IP (VOIP) platform, thus facilitating the use of IT for decision making and timely service delivery.

Additionally, the project will also help strengthen the capacity of the school infrastructure unit by elaborating a pre-investment project portfolio that will undertake pre-feasibility studies in priority areas, among others.

The project will be executed by the MINED over a four-year period, from March 2012-2016, using $25 million loan provided by the International Development Association (IDA) with a 40-year maturity period, including a 10-year grace period.

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