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Brazil: US$154 million Loan to Improve Quality, Efficiency and Equity of Public Education in Pernambuco State

April 14, 2009

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2009 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$154 million loan to the Northeastern Brazilian State of Pernambuco for the Pernambuco Education Results and Accountability (PERA) Project to improve public education and introduce management reforms linking public expenditures to improved educational results.
"The Government of Pernambuco has been working to raise public education standards in the State. To this aim, we have increased investments in infrastructure and in the quality of public management. This new program will give us the tools to carry out the challenging task of providing quality education to our children and our youth. In the midst of an adverse scenario of international financial crisis, Pernambuco continues to create jobs and opportunities, and our people must be prepared to seize opportunities as they arise," said Pernambuco Governor Eduardo Campos.
The PERA Project will foster a new growth agenda for the State, focusing on two interconnected strategies:

  • Building human capital to increase opportunities for the poorest, improving the qualifications and competitiveness of the work force; and
  • Improving efficiency in the use of public resources and the quality of services to increase access and affordability.

"This partnership with the World Bank is of fundamental relevance to our work at the Education Secretariat of Pernambuco. With the approval of this loan, we will be able to further strengthen our work in programs to improve literacy and to correct age-grade distortion as well as to improve school infrastructure and our student assessment system. Our aim is to raise the educational indicators of the State, achieving results and targets already set by this Government," said Pernambuco Secretary of Education Danilo Cabral.
The program will address educational priorities by leveraging funds and mobilizing programs through disbursements associated to pre-identified Eligible Expenditure Programs (EEPs) in education and technical assistance. The World Bank loan will finance US$150 million in education sector investments and US$4 million for technical assistance.
"Among the project's aims are ensuring that children become literate early, reducing age-grade distortion in basic education  and strengthening monitoring and evaluation, which is a pillar of the results-based management approach the State envisaged for the sector,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brazil. "This new project will contribute to public sector modernization, through an improved performance of State expenditure management systems, including oversight, and introducing reforms in related priority governance areas,” he added.
Key education and public sector management areas to be addressed by the project include:

  • Basic Standards Program to improve school infrastructure, equipment and teacher availability and quality. It will rehabilitate and upgrade infrastructure, furniture and equipment, set up computer labs, train teachers, develop school libraries and assure the adequate number and types of teachers per classroom.
  • Literacy Program will provide the tools for children to become literate in the early years of basic education. It will introduce a comprehensive teacher training program of literacy tutors for subsequent replication.
  • Overage Correction Program will address age-grade distortion at the basic, fundamental and secondary education level through the implementation of the Accelerated Classes Programs in the State education.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation will finance the enhancement and operation of the individual student monitoring system and implementation of the State’s student assessment system (SAEPE). It also will provide feedback to parents and schools to ensure accountability.
  • General Public Sector Management will conduct studies and initiatives to better understand and reform its most critical managerial challenges.
  • Education Sector Management Plan to develop and implement a strategic results-based management plan to increase efficiency in the education sector. 

“There will be important synergies between EDUQ and the PERA, both of which respond to the Government of Pernambuco’s priorities and the State’s education sector as a whole. The objectives of both projects are aligned: PERA improves investments supported by EDUQ and deepens further efforts to tackle critical education issues,” said Ricardo Rocha Silveira, World Bank Project Manager.
Over the years, Brazil and the World Bank have developed a successful partnership in education projects at both federal and state levels. Currently, the Bank is supporting Brazil with cutting-edge research and policy development in educational quality and efficiency of expenditures. Assistance includes the ongoing EDUQ, already implemented in Pernambuco and providing a better understanding of the state’s education sector and public management issues in the state.

Education profile in Pernambuco
Pernambuco is a poor, largely arid northeastern state in Brazil. The state’s per capita income is US$3,300, above average for the Northeast of Brazil; however the State has been lagging behind most of the Northeastern States in the education sector.
Pernambuco has one of the lowest student performance records in Brazil. Nearly 87 percent of students in the fourth grade score at an unsatisfactory level in Portuguese as measured by the results of the Prova Brasil national student assessment. In the eighth grade, 78 percent of students score at an unsatisfactory level in both Portuguese and Mathematics.
Illiteracy for various age cohorts is high, ranging from 5.3 percent for 15-19 year olds to 25.9 percent for those 25 and older. Pernambuco’s literacy rate is below the national average.

Media Contacts
In Brasília
Denise Marinho
Tel : (+55-61) 3329-1099
In Washington
Gabriela Aguilar
Tel : (+1 202) 473-6768