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IDB to help Jamaica build and repair schools and improve primary education

Jamaica will build and repair schools and improve the quality and efficiency of its primary education system with a $14 million loan approved Dec. 17 by the Inter-American Development Bank.


The funds, to be executed by the Ministry of Education, will finance the Primary Education Support Project (PESP) goals of replacement, expansion, construction and maintenance of eight schools in order to provide a better, more comfortable environment that is expected to have a positive impact on students' achievements.


PESP's efforts are focusing on urban centers and tourism growth areas where population increase has put severe pressure on the schooling system, with the resulting overcrowding and added enrollment difficulties for students.


Typically, schools in those areas have inadequate staff rooms, administrative office space, sick bays and limited facilities for the physically challenged, while ventilation and lighting, water supply, and sanitary facilities also need improvement.


Other components of the program have supported the production of a multi-grade manual, provide materials and training for the development of management teams, and help with the implementation of a revised school curriculum.


Of the total $14 million, $4.1 million will be used to build new schools, while $3.0 will go to expanding existing units, $3.6 million will be earmarked for partial school replacement and $2.7 million for full replacement. A total $600,000 will be for project management and audit.


The IDB loan supplements previous lending approved in 2000 by the Board of Executive Directors. The new loan is for a 25 year period, including two years of grace.

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