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IDB donates $50 million for education in Haiti

Second grant to support a reform to expand access to free, quality education services

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced the approval of a $50 million grant to support the education reform Haiti launched in 2010, seeking to expand access to free, quality education for all Haitian children.

The IDB has offered to support the ambitious five-year plan with $250 million from its own resources and to raise $250 million more from other donors. Among other goals, the reform calls for the construction of thousands of schools, training tens of thousands of teachers and free education for millions of children.

An initial grant for $50 million was approved last November and the IDB has worked to enlist other international agencies, bilateral donors, philanthropic institutions and companies interested in supporting education in Haiti after last year’s devastating earthquake. Counting the financial assistance provided by the IDB and its partners, the support now involves about $150 million.

Haiti’s Ministry of Education (MENFP) and its Economic and Social Assistance Fund (FAES) are the executing agencies of the new grant, which will contribute to expanding children’s access to schools, improve the quality of education, expand vocational training opportunities for young people and strengthen the ministry’s execution and regulation capacities.

IDB resources will be used to finance the construction and equipment of 20 public schools in areas where there are no educational services. They will also support the rehabilitation of 15 schools damaged by the earthquake and the equipment of 8 schools built by the United States Southern Command.

To expand access to education, the grant will support a school tuition waiver program backed by the Haitian government, the World Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Caribbean Development Bank, among other donors. The IDB’s contribution will enable 35,000 children to attend classes without paying tuition and will cover the cost of school kits and text books for 30,000 students and 2,000 teachers.

To improve learning, the IDB will also assist the MENFP in restarting a distance education program that had shown encouraging results in terms of improved mathematics and language learning.

The grant will also support a competitive fund for pedagogic innovation, which will finance projects proposed by public or private institutions to improve education using digital technologies.

The program will also finance a pilot project on sports for development carried out by Haiti’s Olympic Committee. The project will involve 7,500 children in a sporting complex in Carrefour, in Port-au-Prince’s southern outskirts.

To expand the technical training opportunities for Haitian youth, the plan will strengthen the National Institute for Vocational Training (INFP). The IDB will help finance the construction or rehabilitation of four training centers and the introduction of new public-private management models in six other centers, particularly in the northern region, where the IDB is financing the construction of an industrial park.

The grant will also finance activities to strengthen the MENFP in order to increase its capacity to execute projects and to regulate the Haitian education system.

Education is one of the IDB’s priority sectors in Haiti, where it is carrying out projects totaling over $1 billion in sectors such as transportation infrastructure, water and sanitation, agriculture, energy and private sector development.

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