WASHINGTON, May 11, 2010 — The World Bank’s (WB) Board of Directors approved a US$700 million loan for Mexico today to establish policies to strengthen Mexico’s Upper Secondary Education Reform Program, which is carried out by the Secretary of Public Education.
The reform seeks to improve the quality and relevance of upper secondary education and increase the number of graduates to attain a better-trained labor force that contributes to the country’s economic growth, while it delivers the skills needed by graduates later on in life.
The Program intends to give students an educational system that emphasizes new general, disciplinary and professional abilities that respond better to the country’s productive needs and students’ development needs.
Furthermore, it seeks to select at least 50 percent of school directors in federal schools through competitive examinations and merit. It also intends to train at least 120,000 teachers in the Upper Secondary Education Teacher Training Program, as well as to create and operate a school evaluation system for admission into the National Upper Secondary System.
Additionally, it hopes to increase the number of upper secondary education scholarships from 280,000 to 320,000 during the 2009-2010 period, and carry out a comprehensive evaluation of educational quality to measure advances in learning, both at the student level as well as in each of its sub-systems.
Program objectives will be realized through three main areas of work:
- Improving the flexibility of secondary education through the creation of a National Upper Secondary System that guarantees a minimum standard of skills in all graduates, as well as their free transit between different educational sub-levels;
- Increasing the quality and relevance of education by changing to a competition-based system; and
- Reducing the opportunity cost of attending upper secondary education through the consolidation of existing scholarship programs in the Public Education Secretariat, placing special emphasis on lower income students that are not covered by the Oportunidades program or other scholarship systems, as well as expanding their coverage.
“The loan seeks to support Mexico’s efforts in improving its educational system, thus also improving the country’s competitiveness levels,” said Gloria Grandolini, World Bank Director for Colombia and Mexico. “We want to support Mexico as it adds value to its productive system, and contribute to its transformation from an economy based on low-cost labor to one that is based on knowledge, within the new global economic scenario faced by the country,” she added.
This project is an integral part of a technical cooperation and consultancy services program supported by the World Bank with the intention of improving the performance of Mexico’s educational system. The World Bank has in place several programs and loans for the country’s educational sector, aimed at supporting development at the preschool, primary and secondary levels. This loan is the first one aimed at supporting upper secondary education, allowing the World Bank to complete its support of the country’s educational system.
The Secretary of Finance and Public Credit appointed the Secretary of Public Education as the organization responsible for project implementation. At the same time, it designated Nacional Financiera (NAFIN) as financial agent.
This is a US-dollar-denominated loan with a variable interest rate (6-Month LIBOR), plus a variable margin, with a 17-year maturity period and a 17.5-year grace period. The opening fee has been fixed at 0.25% of the total sum.