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IDB approves loan to increase coverage and quality of education in the state of Amazonas

$151 million loan will improve student performance and supportmanagement and monitoring capacity

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will invest $151 million in a program to accelerate educational progress in the state of Amazonas (PADEAM, after its initials in Portuguese) to improve the quality of educational services and expand access to elementary and secondary education.

The new initiative will provide access to education for more than 30,000 children and youths in riverside and inland areas who presently do not attend school. The Amazonas State Secretariat of Education will contribute some $122 million to the project.

"The main challenge we have in Latin America is the quality of education,” said Marcelo Pérez Alfaro, IDB project team leader in Brazil. “This loan is a priority for providing an opportunity to support the state of Amazonas in improving the effectiveness of teaching and learning for all children and youth.

“Because of its size and geographical characteristics, Amazonas presents enormous problems of access to education, particularly in isolated riverside areas," he continued.

According to figures of the Anísio Teixeira National Institute of Education Studies and Research, only 50 percent of 16 year olds complete basic education in the state of Amazonas, compared to 63 percent nationally. Additionally, according to Prova Brazil performance indicators, in 2009 only 20.8 percent of fifth graders in Amazonas achieved an acceptable mathematics score, and only 25.3 percent did so in Portuguese. These figures are significantly lower than the averages for Brazil, which are 32.6 and 34.2, respectively.

PADEAM will allocate $102.8 million for the construction of 12 schools and for expanding and improving an additional 20 schools. In addition, it will provide more than 500 existing schools with real time access educational services via satellite. The satellite links will be supported by technology kits, the provision of satellite connectivity services, and communications antennas to ensure that the education system will reach remote areas. Schools will also receive increased technical support in providing schools with educational content in electronic form.

In addition to infrastructure investments, $15.9 million will be used to increase rates of student achievement and improve student learning, and $28.5 million will support activities to expand the capacity of the state of Amazonas in managing, monitoring, and evaluating the school network.

The IDB loan is being extended for a term of 25 years with a grace period of 5.5 years and a rate based on LIBOR.

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