WASHINGTON, March 26th, 2010 – The World Bank’s (WB) Board of Directors approved a US$100 million loan for Mexico designed to ensure that more young children in vulnerable communities receive primary education.
The Compensatory Education Project will seek to ensure that 225,000 children aged 0-4 receive preschool education while their parents and/or caregivers receive training to improve their caring abilities.
It will also guarantee that roughly 48,000 parent committees obtain direct financial support and that 2,000 underperforming schools receive intensive pedagogical support. The initiative also seeks to improve learning results.
In order to achieve these objectives, the project will involve community and municipal schools more widely in basic education levels. As part of this strategy, municipalities will be given the responsibility and resources to carry out its educational mandate, while promoting sustainable municipalities throughout the country.
The effectiveness of this project will be evaluated by measuring the gap between test results from 172 municipalities, and by the number of young children aged 0-4 attending at least 80% of Early Childhood Development sessions.
“Mexico has made a great effort in reducing its poverty levels and improving its human development indicators. The challenge persists, and education is not only a right but the most effective tool in better preparing citizens to eventually join the labor market,” noted Gloria Grandolini, World Bank Director for Colombia and Mexico.
“While we do that, we will also contribute to the reduction of current inequalities, especially among indigenous populations and unprotected communities, while we expand opportunities for them to improve their socio-economic status and leave poverty behind,” Grandolini added.
The global economic crisis impacted Mexico in several ways: lower exports, fewer remittances, higher costs for less international financing available, as well as an internal credit contraction. All of that meant decreasing fiscal revenue for the government, leading to budget cuts for social initiatives.
The project backs the National Council for Education Development’s (Consejo Nacional de Fomento Educativo, CONAFE) work and complements other World Bank-financed initiatives in the human development sector. In particular, it hopes to support rural and indigenous areas and complement the Quality Schools Program (aimed at poor peri-urban areas). Meanwhile, it backs the Oportunidades program, which is also financed by the World Bank. The Bank is also working in secondary and tertiary education projects.
The project is composed of three items:
- Training for parents, relatives or caregivers of children aged 0-4, in order to improve their skills and practices in caring for children, contributing to their overall development;
- Providing grants to School Management Support (AGE, in Spanish) Programs and Community Reinforcement for Education (FORTALECER) to repair and rehabilitate schools, as well as improving infrastructure to optimize schools surroundings; and
- Providing technical assistance and training to strengthen the CONAFE’s capacity with the intention of monitoring and evaluating the project.
The organization responsible for the implementation of this project is CONAFE. It will cost a total of US$166.70 million, of which US$100 million will be financed by the WB and US$66.70 million by the government counterpart. This is an investment loan denominated in US dollars. The project is expected to end on October 30th, 2014.
The World Bank has been supporting the CONAFE in designing and implementing educational programs for Mexico’s underprivileged communities for almost twenty years. This operation is an integral part of a technical cooperation package intended to improve the performance of Mexico’s Educational System.