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Uruguay to provide better access to secondary and technical education with IDB support

Uruguay will strengthen its policies of access and retention of students and teachers in its basic general and vocational secondary education with help from a $48 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The funds will finance construction and equipping of 227 general secondary education classrooms, 145 vocational technical education classrooms, and 30 computer labs with connectivity. They will also support creation of a University Institute of Education, the refurbishing of three teacher training centers, and implementation of an information management and digitalization system.

The program will provide academic and financial support to thousands of primary and secondary school students and teachers and help improve management systems in areas such as wages, human resources, and inventory.

Some 4,000 education students will receive academic support and 460 others will get financial assistance, while 11,000 students taking a mix of on-site and distance courses will get support from tutoring and study guides.

Another 4,000 students will benefit from the Liceos Abiertos open middle education system that helps grammar school graduates transition into high school, whereas 3,000 others will benefit from the Interface Project, which facilitates the passage from general basic to upper secondary education through support and guidance activities.

The program will reduce grade repetition and dropout rates among students in the first year of basic secondary school participating in the Liceos Abiertos program by 15 percent, and of those in the first grade of upper secondary school participating in the Interface program by 10 percent.

It will also finance training for 200 7th, 8th, and 9th grade teachers to help them start teaching in rural schools, while 450 others will be trained in new methodologies. Additionally, 1,000 education professors will be trained on the use of information and communication technologies; 2,250 principals and assistants will be trained in management and mediation; and 2,500 secondary school teachers will be trained on youth participation and strategies for the workplace.

The loan is for a 25-year term, with a five-year grace period, at a Libor-based interest rated. The Government of Uruguay will provide $66.5 million in local counterpart funds.