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Bolivian Municipality improves Education

October 10, 2013


Sudents of Jaime Escalante School in Boliva playing soccer.

World Bank

The municipality of La Paz, Bolivia, supported by the World Bank, increased access and improved retention in secondary education for over 10,000 students at risk of dropping out. The municipality constructed and renovated 240 classrooms and improved the quality and relevance of primary and secondary education by strengthening decentralized education management, supplying learning materials, and supporting teacher training.



Rising population pressures have resulted in increasing demands for secondary education across Bolivia. In La Paz, the municipal Government faced a number of challenges. Net primary enrollment had increased significantly during the previous decade, raising the demand for secondary educa- tion. The results were overcrowding and an increase in the student/teacher ratio. School buildings were housing up to four schools (pre-primary, primary, secondary, and night). In secondary education, quality was low and drop-out and repetition rates were high.

In 1994, amid significant education challenges, Bolivia passed the Primary Education Reform Law and Popular Participation Law. Both laws promoted decentralization in the education system and placed responsibility for infrastructure and supplies with the municipalities. By 2005, Bolivia had made progress in expanding access to primary education and improving the rates of enrollment and completion.


With Bank support, the Secondary Education Transformation Project used a multi-faceted approach. To increase access, the project financed the construction and renovation of school buildings in areas with large percentages of out-of-school youth and overcrowded classrooms. To improve retention in secondary schools, it financed an incentive program for students at risk of dropping out, providing teacher training and support to students. To improve quality, the project renovated classrooms, created labs and recreational areas, and provided relevant learning materials.

In collaboration with universities, municipal departments, and the Municipal Training Center, the project developed and implemented a post- graduate degree program in civic values for teach- ers. Participating teachers worked on classroom projects and school fairs to apply the training and deliver it innovatively. To strengthen decentralized education management, the project supported the establishment of school management teams to identify school improvement priorities, which were financed through school improvement project grants benefitting several schools within a building.


By March 2013, the project contributed the following results:

  • In 19 school buildings (four new, three reconstructed, and twelve existing), 15,840 additional secondary school places were added. The new schools were fully functioning with teaching and administrative staff by project completion.
  • The project improved science and computer labs, libraries, recreational areas, multipurpose rooms, sanitary blocks, and administrative areas.
  • The Center for High Educational Performance in San Antonio, fully equipped and staffed, is providing pedagogical support to around 11,000 teachers, community members, and students.
  • Teacher training materials for the Incentive Program for At Risk Students were developed and made available; 156 teachers were trained and 10,131 students have already benefitted. The project also completed and deposited a physical and digital archive for future use.
  • The strengthened decentralized management capacity resulted in (i) 113 school management teams, (ii) 92 school improvement projects, (iii) regulations for school maintenance roles and responsibilities developed and used; provision of equipment and furniture for the Directorate of Education and training of staff to monitor, manage and evaluate project activities; and municipal information system strengthened.

In addition, the municipal education budget has increased over the last four years. Preventive main- tenance of school buildings is now mainstreamed into the municipality’s regular work. The Center for High Educational Performance model was replicated, with two additional centers in Cotahuma and Periférica, financed by the municipality.


The project was financed by a Bank credit in the amount of US$10 million which was fully disbursed.


The project, through the Directorate of Education, collaborated with the Municipal Training Center to elaborate training materials for the Incentive Program and to deliver the training. For the Civic Values Program, the project collaborated with the Plurnational School of Public Administration (Escuela de Gestión Pública Plurinacional), the Bolivian Salesian University (Universidad Salesi- ana Boliviana), the San Pablo Bolivarian Catholic University (Universidad Católica Bolivariana San Pablo), the Departmental and district offices, the United Nations Population Fund, the Women’s Development Center, the Municipal Training Center and other municipal departments, to elaborate and teach the curriculum of the post-graduate degree.


The municipality is launching competitions (“concursos”) under the “my school, my second home” program, to reward schools that properly maintain their infrastructure. The school manage- ment teams are being transformed into productive groups that manage the goods acquired through

the school improvement projects. The municipality will continue to use the Civic Values Program methodology to train primary teachers. Changes in pedagogy, incorporated in schools and the civic- values content, are also integrated into ongoing municipal programs (Operación Cole).


By March 2013:

  • Students enrolled in seven new and recon- structed schools: 6,311.
  • Secondary students benefiting from the incen- tive program: 10,131.
  • Teachers trained under the incentive program: 56.
  • Beneficiaries from 50 primary and secondary schools visiting the Center for High Educaional Performance between 2009-2011: 7,871
  • Beneficiaries using the Center for High Educational Performance during 2012: 3,105, of these, 1,725 were teachers.
  • Teachers and principals receiving the Civic Values post-graduate diploma: 503.
  • Teachers and principals trained under the Civic Values Program by their peers: 1,564.
  • Students participating in the activities of the Civic Values Program: 81,500.
  • Parents trained: 5,600.
  • School councils participating in the Civic
students enrolled in seven new and reconstructed schools.