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12/03/2008 - 13:12

US$2.7 billion IDB conditional credit line and first US$630 million loan will improve equity and quality in preschool, primary and secondary educatio

Funds to promote inclusion and graduation of poor youth; upgrade and expand infrastructure

The Inter-American Development Bank announced today the approval to Argentina of a US$ 2.7 billion nine-year conditional credit line for investment projects (CCLIP) and a first US$630 million loan under this CCLIP facility to support the country's education strategy to improve coverage, equity and quality.

"The goal of the CCLIP is to improve equity in preschool, primary and secondary education and help to close the gap in educational opportunities for children and adolescents from different income levels," said IDB team leader Jesús Duarte. "This will be achieved by financing activities to support the policy for student retention and graduation at the secondary level, and expansion and improvement of educational infrastructure to improve educational equity."

"Children and youngsters will benefit at many different levels, from the possibility of attending preschool, to a better access to new and rehabilitated schools, particularly in geographic areas with the highest poverty rates; primary school students who will be able to receive schooling for more hours a year thanks to a longer school day; and youths, mainly the poorest, who will complete high school due to study grants," explained Duarte. "Students will also benefit from improved learning conditions, such as the distribution of textbooks and other complementary activities."

The credit line is expected to achieve the following objectives: Provide universal preschool for five-year-olds and increased coverage for four-year-olds | Increase to 30 percent the number of pupils in grades 4 to 6 of primary school attending a longer school day Increase the percentage of poor youths who complete secondary school to 70 percent | Improve the internal efficiency indicators for public secondary education | To achieve these objectives there will be continued support for a grant program aimed to increase graduation of youngsters from the poorest families in secondary education and school infrastructure will be expanded, with about 1,500 new schools being built.

The first loan approved today will increase preschool coverage of five-year-olds; it will help add more pupils from primary school grades 4 to 6 to the longer school day; and improve the internal efficiency indicators for public secondary education by raising the graduation rate of students from low-income families.

The loan is for a 25-year term, with a three-year grace period, at an adjustable interest rate.

Local counterpart funds for the loan total US$70 million and for the credit line US$300 million.

The Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Planning, through its Public Investment and Services sector, will carry out the program.

In recent years, the IDB has been supporting the implementation of Argentina´s education strategy through different instruments at both the federal and provincial government levels, with projects such as Education System Improvement Program (PROMSE) with the Federal Ministry of Education, the Program to Support Social Sector Investment in the Province of Buenos Aires, the Social Development Program for the Province of Cordoba and the Program for Productive Sector Development and Competitiveness in the Province of Mendoza.

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