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IDB approves investment to expand coverage and improve quality of education in Manaus

Credit for $52 million seeks to support the Brazilian municipality's education network

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will invest $52 million to support the Project for the Expansion and Improvement of Public Education (PROEMEM in Portuguese) in the municipality of Manaus, Brazil, to expand the coverage and improve the quality of pre-school and primary education in municipal schools.

This initiative will create 6,500 additional places in pre-school and primary education centers and 1,200 places in nurseries, as well as improving the quality of education at the pre-school and primary levels and strengthening the administrative capacity of the Municipal Department of Education.

PROEMEM will earmark almost $30 million for the construction of seven nurseries, 13 pre-school centers and 13 municipal primary schools. It will also help to replace facilities that are rented and in bad condition.

The program also will support the improvement of primary education by designing and implementing programs for accelerated learning for students with the lowest academic levels. It will also finance a redesign and testing of the exams required for entering the teaching profession and will strengthen the selection and training of the teachers' trainers.

Manaus faces big challenges in education. In the municipality, the Primary Education Development Index (IDEB in Spanish), which measures both whether students achieve basic levels and whether they made progress during the school cycle, was 4.1 for the first year of primary school and 3.1 for the last year. The average for all of Brazil is 4.7 and 3.8, respectively. Additionally, the test Prova Brazil showed in 2011 that only 33 percent of the students in fifth grade reached the required level in the Portuguese language and only 23.4 percent reached the required level in mathematics. Those numbers are significantly lower than the median for Brazil, 40 and 36.3 respectively.

The IDB loan is for a period of 25 years, with a grace period of 5.5 years and an interest rate based on LIBOR. The Manaus municipality will contribute about $62 million for this project.

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