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Peru will improve early childhood education with IDB support

Loan for $25 million will improve the quality of education for children aged 3-5 years in Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Huánuco departments

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan to Peru for $25 million for an early education project that will foster safe schools, improve teaching methods, and support the participation of parents in the educational development of children 3 to 5 years of age in the departments of Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Huánuco.

This initiative, which will form the basis for a strategy at the national level, represents a first step in implementing a comprehensive and improved intervention model that builds on research conducted in these three departments in recent years, as well as lessons learned from prior experience.

A major focus of the program is teacher training and support, which are critical for improving the learning process. Investment in early childhood education is a critical element in school performance and in the ability of children to achieve success throughout their lives.

The project will be carried out in these three departments because they have high poverty levels as well as high rates of grade repetition among school children. The program will include equipping, rehabilitating, or replacing 190 education centers and providing maintenance plans for an additional 296 centers.

The program will also include training teachers in improving communication skills and instructional methods, use of teaching materials, multiculturalism and bilingualism, and the promotion of parent involvement in education of their children.

"Quality programs can mitigate the cognitive deficits and behavioral problems that are often exhibited by students from disadvantaged homes,” said Jenelle Thompson, IDB education specialist and project team leader.

The IDB financing will be supplemented by $25.7 million in local counterpart funds from the Peruvian government, a grant for $5.5 million from the German international cooperation agency KfW, and a loan from the same agency for $8.3 million.

The IDB loan is for a 25-year term with a 5.5-year grace period and a variable interest rate based on LIBOR.