November 12th, 2012 (InsideCostaRica.com) Costa Rica will expand and improve the physical condition of its school infrastructure, and improve the learning environment and internal efficiency of its schools and high schools with a $167 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (BID, in Spanish).
The program will finance the construction of 79 new educational centers, as well as 24 new cultural and sports centers. 17 of the new buildings will be for primary school, special education and basic learning, which currently operate in borrowed or rented infrastructure, which is generally in poor condition. The new facilities will include academic classrooms, recreational spaces, school libraries and computer labs.
In past years, Costa Rica has faced challenges in improving education quality and a deficit in educational infrastructure. The Public Education Ministry has managed to prevent dropouts and keep many children in school through programs such as “Avancemos” and curricular reforms. However, that increase in student retention has increased the strain on the country’s educational infrastructure, which is now about $1 billion, according to the Study on the State of Education.
The project will finance the construction of 52 schools and high schools, high schools in rural areas, technical high schools and others that currently operate in centers that are in poor condition. An additional 10 buildings for new high schools in areas with high population density will also be built, 5 of which will be academic high schools (7th-11th grade), and the other 5 will be technical schools, which go from 10th- 12th grade. The schools will have an average capacity of 850 students, and the buildings will include classrooms, restrooms and areas for administrative offices, dining and recreation.
The loan from the Inter-American Bank is for a 20-year term with a five and a half year grace period and a LIBOR based interest rate.