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IDB approves $10 million soft loan for adult and youth education in Nicaragua

The Inter-American Development Bank today announced the approval of a $10 million soft loan to Nicaragua to support a basic education program for youths and adults.

Young people make up a large part of the population in Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Nearly half its labor force is between 15 and 30 years old. Despite improvements in public education over the past decade, nearly one-third of the people in that age bracket have not finished primary school, a factor that limits their opportunities for employment and their income-generation potential.

The program supported by the IDB, which will be carried out by the Education Ministry, seeks to raise the levels of instruction and productivity of Nicaraguans over 15 years of age who either never attended school or dropped out before completing their basic education. It also aims to boost the graduation rate among primary school pupils between 10 and 15 years old.

“The program is expected to have a significant impact in a relatively short term on the target population’s schooling level by using a cost-efficient and flexible alternative to address its beneficiaries’ needs,” said IDB project team leader Ferdinando Regalía.

Under one of its components, the program will expand the coverage and improve the quality of adult and youth education services, introducing labor-training modules to help students apply their new skills in their jobs. The program will also support a pilot project for a radio-based distance-learning program for adults.

The program will also expand coverage of the last two grades of basic education in areas where primary schools show low graduation rates. Resources will be provided for books, educational supplies and materials, training for education promoters and facilitators and school equipment for study groups organized outside public schools.

Another component will finance an external evaluation of the program and help strengthen its administrative, financial, human resources and logistics management to ensure its efficiency and transparency, monitor its performance and gauge its results.

The adult and youth education program reflects the strategy shared by Nicaragua and the IDB of giving priority to investments in human capital by focusing social spending on the poorest segments of the country’s population.

The loan has a 40-year term, with a 10-year grace period. Annual interest rate will be 1 percent during the first decade and 2 percent thereafter. Local counterpart funds will total $1.1 million.


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