Costa Rica will improve the physical conditions of educational infrastructure, the learning environment, and the efficieny in elmentary and secondary schools with a $167 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
This program will finance the construction of 79 educational centers as well as the creation of 24 cultural and sports facilities. Seventeen of the new buildings will be used for primary education, special education, and basic education, and will replace poor quality rented or borrowed infrastructure. The new facilities will include academic classrooms, restrooms, administrative areas, dining rooms, recreational spaces, complementary works, and, depending on enrollment, school libraries and computer labs.
One of the most important challenges facing Costa Rica in its efforts to improve educational quality and equity is to reduce the deficit in the sector’s infrastructure. In recent years, the promotion of flexibility in secondary education, conditional cash transfers in the Avancemos Program, and curricular reforms introduced by the Ministry of Public Education, have succeeded in retaining and attracting students that would otherwise remain outside the system. This increase in retention and promotion has increased the deficit in educational infrastructure, which presently totals some $1 billion, according to the State of Education study.
The project will finance the construction of 52 schools and high schools, rural secondary schools, secondary distance learning programs, and technical schools that currently use poor quality rented or borrowed facilities.An additional 10 buildings will house new high schools in areas with high population density and numbers of students. Five of these will be academic high schools (7th through 11th grade) and the other five will be technical schools (10th to 12th grade).Each school will have an average student body of 850 pupils. The buildings will include classrooms, restrooms, and administrative, dining and recreation areas.
These initiatives are being carried out through an investment fund for public works, which will be established by the Costa Rican government in a state bank, pending approval by the legislature. Execution of the works and the establishment of the executing unit will be carried out through use of the IDB’s contracting and procurement processes, which are aligned with the Costa Rican government’s administrative contracting principles.
The IDB loan is for a period of 20 years with a grace period of five-and-a-half years and an interest rate based on LIBOR.